State Attorney Shai Nitzan said Thursday he hopes police will submit their recommendations regarding the corruption probes into Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu within weeks.
Nitzan, speaking at the Globes newspaper’s annual Israel Business Conference in Jerusalem, pushed back against suggestions that the investigations into Netanyahu were being delayed for extraneous reasons.
“Any absurd claims that the investigation is being delayed deliberately are false,” he said. “If you believe investigating a prime minister is simple, that is a false assumption.”
The probe, he said, “is not dictated by any political interests, and we will do what needs to be done.”
Nitzan added, “I hope police submit their recommendations in the coming weeks.”
The investigations have been attacked from both left and right. Netanyahu’s supporters — and the prime minister himself — have painted them as a witch hunt, while his opponents have alleged that the lengthy process is part of an attempt by authorities, and particularly Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit, to shield the prime minister.
Last Friday Hadashot TV news reported that police have revised their plan to submit recommendations in the two corruption cases against Netanyahu in the first weeks of the year, with the investigation now set to continue for several more months.
A police source told the channel that police may want to question Netanyahu for an eighth time, and also follow up on several additional leads overseas.
Netanyahu is a suspect in two corruption investigations, known as cases 1000 and 2000. In the first, Netanyahu and his wife, Sara, are suspected of receiving illicit gifts from billionaire benefactors, most notably hundreds of thousands of shekels’ worth of cigars and champagne from the Israeli-born Hollywood producer Arnon Milchan.
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 denies any wrongdoing.