One of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's closest confidants has agreed to testify against him in a graft probe, Israeli media reported Wednesday, in a fresh threat to his long tenure in power.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara attend an inauguration ceremony for a fortified emergency room at the Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon, southern Israel, February 20, 2018.
Police would not confirm whether Filber would testify against Netanyahu, but all the major Israeli media outlets said a deal to do so had been reached.
A Case 3000 is also looking into potential wrongdoing involving Netanyahu's personal lawyer and German shipbuilder ThyssenKrupp's local representative.
According to another poll, commissioned by Hadashot news, 50% of the respondents think that Netanyahu should resign or suspend himself, compared with only 33% who think that he should remain in office. Netanyahu appeared ashen in video released late on Tuesday, when he described the the claims as "total madness". Netanyahu has denied all the charges, calling them part of a media-orchestrated witch hunt that has swept up the police and prosecution as well, and has vowed to carry on.
"The Netanyahu government's days are numbered, and we already need to prepare for the upcoming election in order not to be caught unprepared, because we are dealing with our internal election", Gilon said.
On the other hand, at the annual Munich Security Conference attended by Netanyahu, he said "the arrests of members of his close circle revealed yet another futile investigation, a contrived bubble that will burst". "They are creating new cases every two hours.
The criminal house of cards the prime minister built in recent years - corrupting the civil service, harming the rule of law, threatening freedom of the press and more than all else, dividing Israeli society - is crashing down on him and around him", Gabbay wrote in a letter to party lawmakers on Tuesday night.
Last week, police said there was enough evidence to indict Mr Netanyahu for bribery, fraud and breach of trust in two other cases.
Netanyahu is accused of receiving lavish gifts from Hollywood mogul Arnon Milchan and Australian billionaire James Packer.
Police allege that Mr Netanyahu, having received the gifts, pushed for the Milchan Law, which would have ensured that Israelis who return to live in Israel from overseas are exempt from paying taxes for 10 years. Filber's change of heart could leave the tough-talking Netanyahu at his most vulnerable yet, with one critic writing him off as a "political corpse".
In the second case, dubbed "case 2000", Netanyahu allegedly received bribes from Arnon Mozes, the publisher of Yedioth Aharonoth, one of Israel's largest newspapers in return for positive coverage in Yediot Aharonot.
Attorney General Avihai Mandelblit, a Netanyahu appointee, will make the final decision on whether to file charges - a process that is expected to take several months.
Mr. Hefetz is now suspected of approaching Israel's then commissioner for prosecutorial oversight, Judge Hila Gerstel, with an offer for the attorney general position if she would drop an ongoing corruption case against Ms. Netanyahu.
Israel's police chief, Roni Alsheikh, said Tuesday that the police recommendations were coordinated with the attorney general and were handled in a professional manner.