Netanyahu backtracks on bill which would hinder corruption probe

Netanyahu backtracks on bill which would hinder corruption probe

Israeli prime minister forced to u-turn on a law which would stall progress on the investigation into himself and his wife Sara

Benjamin Netanyahu
Benjamin Netanyahu

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has had to backtrack on a bill that would have stymied police corruption investigations into him and his wife Sara.

Netanyahu’s forced about-turn on the controversial ‘recommendations bill’ came after tens of thousands of Israelis lined the streets of Tel Aviv for an anti-corruption rally, chanting “shame” in the country’s biggest mass protest in years.

The couple, who are being investigated for accepting expensive gifts from billionaire friends, have been at war with the media in recent months, with leaks emerging from inside the investigation.

His allies in Likud have sought to shore up his flagging popularity with promotional events, while the ‘recommendations bill’ would end the current police practice of recommending to prosecutors whether suspects should be indicted, and punish those found leaking details to the media.

Critics said he was using his position to pour cold water on the investigations, but after the enormous crowd in Israel’s cosmopolitan heart this weekend, he said the bill should “be worded in a way that it won’t apply to the investigation taking place into my affairs”.

Blaming the opposition, he wrote on Facebook: “Unfortunately, the debate over the bill has turned into a political weapon against an elected government.”

Police are examining whether Netanyahu agreed to hobble a newspaper’s competitor in return for favourable coverage, as well as a secretive deal to buy German nuclear submarines involving the prime minister’s lawyer.

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