Sebastian Scheiner / AP
After a month's wait, Israel's lawyer told Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that he was preparing him to commit corruption charges.
This is a big blow to the long-serving premier and Trump's ally, though not a final decision on the indictment. Netanyahu will still have the opportunity to hold the charges in court. In the meantime, he will remain in office and seek re-election in April.
If the Chief Prosecutor of Avichai Mandelblit decides to liquidate the charges that an expert expects, then this would be the first time that Prime Minister sitting in Israel has been charged.
The announcement shakes the Israeli policy only six weeks before the voters decide whether Netanyahu has another term. It serves as a prime minister for a decade.
Mandelbl investigates three different corruption cases and outlined them in a 58-page document sent to Netanyahu's lawyers. The details of the charges are well known. A few months ago, the Israeli police recommended that Netanyahu prosecute every three statements.
First of all, he faces a possible breach of trust and fraud charges – acceptance of cigars and sparkling wine, as well as the costly gifts of rich businessmen, including the Hollywood producer Arnon Milchan.
Secondly, he is confronted with a greater breach of trust and fraud charges – in an attempt to reach an agreement with a newspaper publisher to promote legislation to help the publisher's business, in exchange for Netanyahu's positive media content. The business never went through.
The final case is the most serious because the charges accused by the lawyer include bribery. Netanyahu is said to have accepted a lucrative corporate merger for the telecom businessman and, in return, the business news site of Netanyahu was favorably covered.
Although Netanyahu will be heard before the official accusation, the authority will remain with the lawyer. The final charge may take up to a year. The date of the hearing has not yet been published.
Netanyahu called "bribery" "absurd". He confiscated the probe as an intervention in the upcoming Israeli elections and described the charges as "a house of cards".
He accused Mandelblit of putting pressure from left and left media to urge prizes before the elections. The prime minister is expected to speak to the Israeli audience on Thursday.
This saga shared the voters. According to a recent survey by Haifa University, half of the audience do not trust the lawyer much. At the same time, another survey of the Israeli television program Meet the press said 64 percent of Israelis wanted Mandelbl to notify their decision before the election, Haaretz reported.
The Ministry of Justice stated that "the decision of the Attorney General was made after a thorough examination of the evidence gathered during investigations by the Israeli Police and the Securities Authority of Israel, after examining the detailed opinion of the Public Prosecutor's Office. , the Attorney General has held talks with senior members of the Public Prosecutor's Office and the Attorney General's Office for a long time. "
Netanyahu indicated that if they were charged, he would remain in office and fight in court.
The Non-Partisan Israel Democracy Institute called on Netanyahu to "carefully consider" what is best for Israel.
"It is best if the country is led by a leader who commits a serious crime against corruption, or is best resigned and focused on proving his innocence in the courts?" the institute said in a statement.
He warned that "serious potential damage to public confidence in state institutions can lead to a situation in which the government is accused of a person who commits a crime for abuse of power."
The basis for the upcoming vote is likely to continue to support him – in fact, in a Haifa University survey, 65 percent of party supporters say they believe law enforcement is trying to force Netanyahu. This party, Likud, said on Thursday that this announcement meant a "political witch hunt" to round off the Netanyahu government.
However, other voters may question their ability to lead the country in an uncertain political future when they are accused.
Netanyahu was the first runner in the upcoming elections, but if the number of opinion polls – even slightly – slipped. It is necessary to build a ruling coalition with the other parties to stay in power, and probably be charged with criminal charges over its head, it is not clear that other parties are willing to stay on their side.
There is a new centralized list led by a former army – who is strong in voting and who can win.