A few hours before his interrogation with a warning by police Monday, regarding suspicion of illegally receiving gifts, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told a meeting of the Likud Knesset faction, “We’ve been hearing the celebration on television and in the opposition, and I want to tell them: wait with the celebrations, don’t rush. Nothing’s going to happen, you’ll just keep flying hot air balloons.”
Netanyahu is expected to be interrogated by police in his residence, on suspicion of illegally accepting gifts and benefits. According to Channel 2 News, there’s no time limit on the interrogation.
In early December, Netanyahu’s wife, Sara, was questioned by police for 11 hours over an alleged misuse of public funds.
Police explained their need for a large block of time saying they had to be able to spread before the PM the full body of evidence and suspicions in order to receive concrete answers from him.
Police are likely to confront Netanyahu with the testimony of businessman, art collector, philanthropist, and political activist Ronald Lauder, who confirmed that he gave the PM a few gifts, including a suit, and paid for Netanyahu’s son, Yair’s hospitality abroad. Police believe the overall amount exceeds Lauder’s claim that these were “merely gifts exchanged between friends,” and leans more towards being a bribe, or a “deposit” against a future need for the PM’s good will.
Meanwhile, police have been hinting about “another” scandal connected to the Prime Minister, which, according to Ha’aretz, may be the blow that finally draws blood. The reason, according to Ha’aretz, is the fact that AG Avichai Mandelblit – breaking with normal protocol – has been closely involved with the case, advising police on witnesses, discouraging some, and even becoming involved in preparing questions interrogators should ask witnesses.David Israel