The brother of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Saturday that the methods police are employing to investigate the premier are “a danger to democracy.”
Iddo Netanyahu, speaking at a cultural event in Beersheba, said he was “very worried” about the state of Israeli democracy in light of the multiple criminal probes against the prime minister, which he claimed were utterly without merit.
Iddo Netanyahu, a physician and author who rarely speaks out on such matters, said police recommendations last month to indict his older brother for bribery, breach of trust, and fraud in two criminal cases were “ridiculous.”
He claimed investigators were “looking under the floorboards” to find criminal action by his brother. “They’re looking for all sorts of things to [accuse him of]…They haven’t found anything to show that there was any reward for the alleged bribe.
“You can make a suspect of any minister and any public figure if you have a certain goal,” he asserted. “Just like in medicine, policemen and investigators can find anything they’re [already] looking for.”
Iddo Netanyahu warned of a “deadly triad of the media, prosecution, and police” in creating a cloud of suspicion against his brother. “We need to ensure that this delicate balance of authorities — the balance that enables democracy — is not disrupted, and it seems that it has been disrupted.”
He claimed that the probes were “an attempt to circumvent the will of the voters.” He said the prime minister “works 16 hours a day and does so for the security of the country. People understand that, and that’s why Likud won the elections. People understand that it’s all for them. The notion that he does these things for cigars is totally absurd.”
Police have so far recommended putting the prime minister on trial in Cases 1000 and 2000.
In Case 1000, Netanyahu and his wife are suspected of receiving illicit gifts from billionaire benefactors, amounting to some NIS 1 million ($282,000) worth of cigars and champagne from the Israeli-born Hollywood producer Arnon Milchan and Australian resort owner James Packer in return for certain benefits.
Case 2000 involves a suspected illicit quid-pro-quo deal between Netanyahu and Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper publisher Arnon Mozes that would have seen the prime minister weaken a rival daily, the Sheldon Adelson-backed Israel Hayom, in return for more favorable coverage from Yedioth.
Netanyahu is also under investigation in Case 4000, which involves suspicions he advanced legislation benefiting Bezeq owner Shaul Elovitch in exchange for flattering coverage from his Walla news site. Officials have said that the suspicions against the prime minister in the case are more serious than in the two earlier cases.
On Friday Hadashot TV news reported that police are seeking another round of questioning of Netanyahu and his wife Sara on Monday in the latter probe. The couple’s eldest son Yair may also be questioned then.
Earlier this month Nir Hefetz, a former media adviser to the Netanyahu family, turned state’s witness in the investigation. He became the third Netanyahu confidant to do so in cases involving the premier, joining former Communications Ministry director-general Shlomo Filber and former chief of staff Ari Harrow.
Netanyahu has not been named as a suspect in another investigation, Case 3000, but there have been reports that police are considering questioning him under caution about the case.
Case 3000 involves suspected corruption in the multi-billion-shekel purchase of submarines and other naval vessels from a German shipbuilder. The investigation has focused on suspicions that state officials were bribed to influence a decision to purchase four patrol boats and three Dolphin-class submarines costing a total of 2 billion euros from ThyssenKrupp, despite opposition to the deal from the Defense Ministry.
Netanyahu and his family have repeatedly denied any wrongdoing in all of the cases.