Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit has decided to indict Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the corruption probes against him, subject to a hearing. Mandelblit has recommended that Netanyahu be charged with bribery in Case 4000, alleging that Netanyahu intervened to help telecom giant Bezeq, controlled by Shaul Elovich, in return for favorable coverage by Bezeq's subsidiary news site, Walla.
The attorney general also recommended fraud and breach of trust charges in two other investigations – Case 1000, alleging that Netanyahu received expensive gifts from wealthy associates in return for advancing their business interests; and Case 2,000 regarding conversations Netanyahu had with the publisher of the Yediot Ahronot newspaper to limit circulation of the rival newspaper Yisrael Hayom in return for favorable coverage.
Netanyahu, in a primetime televised statement on Thursday evening said the allegations were false and nothing would come with them. He said the left and media had mounted unbearable pressure on the attorney general to bring charges against him in a campaign to topple the right-wing government led by him, and replace it with a weak left-wing government, in his words, led by Benny Gantz and Yair Lapid of the Blue and White Party.
Gantz, in a short statement after Netanyahu's remarks, called on him to step down.
The attorney general is expected to pass on the investigation materials to the defense teams of the suspects in the cases after the April 9 vote in Israel. Hearings would then be held over the coming months, with observers expecting a final decision by Mandelblit in early 2020 whether to indict Netanyahu.