Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded Thursday night to the announcement a few hours earlier by Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit that charges of fraud and breach of trust would be filed against him.
Netanyahu’s remarks in response covered a range of topics, beginning with his conversation Wednesday in Moscow with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin. Netanyahu said he told Putin “we will continue to collaborate against Iran,” and then immediately went on to mention U.S. President Donald Trump, who earlier in the day had expressed his firm support for Israel’s prime minister, a friend for decades long before he entered the White House.
“This unique relationship with world leaders is no small matter,” Netanyahu said. “For many years it has helped me to ensure our security, helped to preserve our country. The policy I pursued with my Likud colleagues has led Israel to the best decade in its history – in security, foreign relations, the economy – in every field. We turned Israel into a rising world power but we did it without dangerous concessions and bowing our heads…
“The left knows that with such achievements, they can not beat us at the ballot box, so for three years they have been carrying out a hunting expedition with the sole purpose of toppling the government under my leadership and putting up [Benny] Gantz and [Yair] Lapid instead. They know the house of cards will collapse after the elections. But the pressure campaign of the Left has succeeded. For the first time in the history of the State, a few days before the elections, the issue is being opened. Every citizen understands that this timing is outrageous, and it’s in order to topple the government . It has no other logical explanation.”
Similar tactics were used, he said, to bring down other powerful right-win politicians in the past, such as Minister Yaakov Ne’man (now deceased), “Israeli [military] hero” Rafael Eitan, and “another Israeli hero,” Avigdor Kahalani . . . “There were ostensibly witnesses and proofs and you know how it ended in their cases? It ended in nothing. And you know why it ended in nothing? Because there was nothing – as I have nothing.”
The prime minister spoke bitterly, with barely-contained emotion, about what he has long maintained to be a campaign of attrition being waged by the Left against him, and targeting even his personal family – specifically, his wife and son.
“There are other things that I must say,” Netanyahu said grimly, “and I have not said them: On this hunting trip against me, I did not hesitate by any means. They poured, and still shed my wife’s blood, they track down and persecute my son, pursuing my family through three years of the seventh level of Hell.
“This hunting expedition began with an attempt to charge me and my wife with six bribery cases. But it’s a tower of cards that is collapsing. Even before I spoke and presented all the documents that refute all this, five of these six cases have already collapsed,” he said.
“I assure you that the rest of the claims will also collapse. They will collapse after I confront the state’s witnesses who acted to save their skin. They tell them, ‘Either give us something on Netanyahu or you’ll go to jail.’ I will bring dozens of witnesses to refute everything. There will be no trace of the allegations against me.”
The prime minister went on to say “one thing is clear: there is one law for everyone, and another for Netanyahu. There are general election rules for everyone, and there are election rules for Netanyahu and the Likud.
“I tell you citizens of Israel, this entire house of cards is going to collapse.
“I will continue serving you as Prime Minister for many years to come! Do not believe all the spins – but it’s up to you. It depends only on you, the citizens of Israel,” Netanyahu underlined.
“Do not let this hunting trip confuse you. The choice is as simple and smooth as a razor – a left-wing government of Lapid and Gantz with the support of the Arab parties, or a right-wing government headed by me.
“Many tell me ‘do not break,’ and I tell them ‘I will not break’ and I will continue. When they ask how I can remain so strong, I say it’s from three things: First, I get my strength from my beloved family. Second, from the knowledge that all the charges against me are baseless. And third, from you, dear citizens of Israel, who support and strengthen me, so that I will continue to lead this country for the future of all of you.”