Ratan N Tata clears air around Israeli media reports


The police announcement that Netanyahu's acceptance of almost $300,000 in gifts from two billionaires amounted to bribery sent shockwaves through the Israeli political system and delivered a humiliating blow to Netanyahu after years of allegations and investigations.

It is now up to Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit, a former military advocate general and ex-cabinet secretary who was appointed to the country's top legal post by Netanyahu, to decide whether to file criminal charges.

Netanyahu, addressing the nation later that evening, maintained his innocence, saying the recommendations "cast a dark shadow" and "have no place in a democratic state".

"Reports that the United States discussed with Israel an annexation plan for the West Bank are false", the White House said then.

As the police investigation gained steam in recent months, Netanyahu has claimed to be a victim of an overaggressive police force and a media witch hunt.

Earlier this week, Netanyahu told Likud lawmakers in a closed-door meeting that the issue of applying Israeli sovereignty to the West Bank had been discussed with USA officials. Here's a fact you probably don't know: "Over 60 percent of police recommendations are thrown out and never result in indictments".

Avraham Diskin, a political science professor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, said none of Netanyahu's coalition partners had any incentive to rock the boat.

The second case, dubbed Case 2000, involves a suspected illicit quid pro quo deal between Netanyahu and Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper publisher Arnon Mozes that would have seen the prime minister weaken a rival daily, the Sheldon Adelson-backed Israel Hayom, in return for more favorable coverage from Yedioth.

Mandelblit, a Netanyahu appointee, did not say when he expects to make his decision.

Lieberman said that unlike his own experience of being reappointed as minister after being acquitted in court, the job of prime minister does not remain vacant during the trial.

"The coalition is stable, and no one, me or anyone else, has plans to go to elections", he declared in Tel Aviv.

Glick concluded her column by noting that the Israeli Knesset has no way to provide oversight over the Israeli police, which differentiates it from the U.S. Congress' oversight powers of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

"Investigators asked me to testify on events during my term as finance minister, and just as every law-abiding citizen would do, I agreed", he said.

"According to the police, the most glaring example of Netanyahu working against Israel's interests to benefit Milchan was his efforts (to) promote a a free trade zone on the Israel-Jordan border, a project the Hollywood producer sought to promote as part of his partnership with Indian Industrialist Ratan Naval Tata", Ynetnews had reported.

Mr Netanyahu's ruling coalition, too, shows no signs of weakness.

Shortly after the police made their recommendations public, Lapid issued a statement calling on Netanyahu to resign.