Will Benjamin Netanyahu be accused of Israel? 20,000 protesters at the Tel Aviv rally against government corruption – tech2.org

Will Benjamin Netanyahu be accused of Israel? 20,000 protesters at the Tel Aviv rally against government corruption



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Up to 20,000 Israelis took to the streets of Tel Aviv on Saturday to protest the slowness of investigations into government corruption charges against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and dozens of members of his ruling party.

Since August, Netanyahu has been under investigation for allegedly receiving bribes from wealthy taxpayers of the campaign in exchange for political favors. Netanyahu also faces charges of trying to reach an agreement with a major Israeli newspaper to obtain more favorable coverage.

Saturday's protest came as a result of the recent push by the Israeli parliament for a new law that would prohibit the police from publicizing the findings of their investigations on serving politicians. The protesters claim that the legislation, introduced by the members of Netanyahu's Likud party, would effectively nullify the Netanyahu investigations regardless of their outcome. Lawmakers say they only seek to protect the rights of the accused.

"[Netanyahu] and his government are destroying the country, there has been enough corruption," said Michal, a protester and Tel Aviv resident who declined to give his full name to the Guardian on Saturday.

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[194590009]  RTX3KWJ7 Israelis take part in a protest against corruption in Tel Aviv, Israel, on December 2, 2017. REUTERS / Amir Cohen

Protesters have organized weekly demonstrations outside the home of Israel's Attorney General, Avichai Mandelblit, since accusations of corruption surfaced. The demonstration on Saturday saw demonstrators marching through a high-clbad neighborhood in Tel Aviv shouting "shame" and "Bibi go home," referring to Netanyahu's nickname.

Netanyahu has continuously denied any wrongdoing and has labeled the investigations as a political attack orchestrated by opposition leaders.

The government investigation increased on Sunday, while Israeli police interrogated David Bitan, right-wing member of Likun and Netanyahu in parliament for several hours on suspicion of receiving bribes, fraud, money laundering and breach of trust , according to The Times of Israel .

Bitan was arrested shortly after police arrested 17 other officials and government employees as part of the corruption investigation. According to Haaretz six of those arrested have direct links to Bitan.

"This morning, 10 suspects were detained for questioning under caution and seven others were detained on suspicion of involvement in bribery, fraud and breach." In November, Israeli detectives questioned Netanyahu for the fifth time on the alleged charges of corruption.

Local reports say Ron Dermer, Israel's ambbadador to the United States, was also questioned as part of the same investigation for allegedly asking former US Secretary of State John Kerry for help in obtaining a US visa for billionaire Hollywood producer Arnon Milchan at Netanyahu's request.

If imputed, Netanyahu will face strong political opposition to resign or call a national referendum to determine if he still has a mandate. Netanyahu is currently serving his fourth term as Prime Minister. If his current government has a full term, he will become the longest-running prime minister in Israel's history.

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