Speed Reads


Facing corruption allegations, Benjamin Netanyahu interrogated by Israeli police

On Monday night, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was questioned by police for three hours in his Jerusalem residence, on suspicion of corruption in a new criminal investigation.

Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit said that an inquiry into Netanyahu was launched in mid-July, and three months later, specific accusations were made against the prime minister that led to evidence last month prompting the criminal investigation. Mandelblit would not say what the investigation is about, other than that Netanyahu is suspected of receiving benefits from businessmen, but he did rule out issues related to Netanyahu receiving money to cover travel expenses and engaging in campaign financing improprieties.

During Netanyahu's first term as prime minister in the late 1990s, he was investigated on allegations of fraud and breach of public trust; while police recommended an indictment, the attorney general's office at the time cited lack of evidence as a reason to not charge him. Ehud Olmert, Israel's prime minister from 2006 to 2009, is serving a 19-month prison sentence for corruption, and one of Netanyahu's political rivals, Knesset member Yair Lapid, said that if "two prime ministers in a row fall for corruption, it will be very difficult to rehabilitate the public's trust in government. At the same time, for the benefit of the state of Israel and the people of Israel, [the investigation] must be fast." Netanyahu denies any wrongdoing.