Business and tech figures call on Netanyahu to resign

Prominent entrepreneurs say third election must be prevented, democratic institutions should not become ‘collateral damage’ of PM’s fight for political survival

Shoshanna Solomon is The Times of Israel's Startups and Business reporter

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at a Likud party rally in Tel Aviv, on November 17, 2019. (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at a Likud party rally in Tel Aviv, on November 17, 2019. (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)

Prominent members of the tech and business sector have called on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to resign from his post in light of the criminal charges filed against him, Hebrew press reported.

Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit announced last Thursday that charges will be filed against Netanyahu in three corruption cases. Following the announcement of the charges, Netanyahu held a press conference in which he accused prosecutors of seeking to oust him from power with false charges in an “attempted coup.”

The charges came with the country facing the specter of a third election within a year due to a political stalemate that has seen the two leading political parties failing in efforts to create a unity government.

Netanyahu has vowed to stay in office while he fights the criminal charges, which include bribery, fraud and breach of trust in one case and additional fraud and breach of trust charges in another two cases.

On Tuesday, more than 70 Israeli businesspeople signed a letter addressed to Israeli lawmakers requesting that they take immediate action to prevent a third election, the Calcalist business daily reported.

They said they were sending the letter out of concern for the nation’s financial state.

“Growth and economic well-being require a strong and stable democracy. This requires a regime untainted by corruption that respects democratic values, including the independence of the legal system and a free press,” the letter stated, according to a report on the Globes website.

Among the signatories are Mellanox co-founder and CEO Eyal Waldman; Yehudit and Yehuda Bronicki, founders of geothermal energy company Ormat Technologies Inc.; Alpha Omega co-founder and owner Reem Younis; social business entrepreneur Hana Rado; and entrepreneur and venture capitalist Dov Moran, the Calcalist report said.

On Wednesday, another group of local tech figures called on Netanyahu to resign. The letter, initiated by Tel Aviv-based venture capital firm Qumra Capital, was signed by the firm’s three partners, Boaz Dinte, Sivan Shamri Dahan, and Erez Shachar. Mellanox’s Waldman also signed that appeal, along with Aviv Shapira, the co-founder of augmented reality startup XTend Reality Expansion Ltd.; Omri Palmon of the data storage startup WekaIO Inc.; and venture capitalist Zvi Limon, among others, Calcalist said.

The letter condemned the “unprecedented attacks on the rule of law, on Israel’s attorney general, state attorney, the media, and the judicial system,” according to Calcalist.

“We will not allow Israel and its democratic institutions to become collateral damage in the prime minister’s personal fight for political survival,” the letter read.

read more:
Never miss breaking news on Israel
Get notifications to stay updated
You're subscribed