Netanyahu’s Attack on Investigators Feels Familiar


Israeli protesters hold signs that read, “the fish stinks from the head,” during a weekly protest known as the “march of shame” to demonstrate against alleged government corruption, in Tel Aviv last month.

Abir Sultan/European Pressphoto Agency

The head of the government has been under criminal investigation for some time. So he launches a counterattack against the credibility of the investigators and their chief, and assails media reports as “fake news.” Sound familiar?

In this case, though, it’s Benjamin Netanyahu, prime minister of Israel, who is bracing for police investigators to conclude two long corruption investigations as early as next week by presenting their recommendations to the attorney general.

What they will recommend is not publicly known, though it is known that one case under investigation involves gifts from benefactors, and the other allegations that Mr. Netanyahu tried to get favorable coverage from a newspaper in exchange for curtailing a competitor. The attorney general could choose to indict; or he could do nothing, or just issue a reprimand, which would legally allow Mr. Netanyahu to stay in the office he has occupied for a total of 12 years now.

Mr. Netanyahu, who has been called Mr. Teflon for his ability to weather earlier police inquiries, has repeatedly insisted that the current investigations “will come to nothing, because there is nothing.” Still, he is taking no chances. (His predecessor, Ehud Olmert, was forced out of office over police accusations of corruption and ended up serving 16 months of a 27-month prison term for bribery and obstruction of justice.)

Things got nasty on Wednesday when the police commissioner, Roni Alsheich, appointed to his current post by Mr. Netanyahu, gave a television interview in which he reiterated earlier allegations that…

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