Israeli PM Netanyahu should be charged with bribery

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In the findings announced Sunday, police said there was evidence to charge Mr Netanyahu with bribery, fraud, breach of trust and unlawful acceptance.

The authorities allege Mr Netanyahu awarded regulatory favours to Bezeq Telecom Israel in return for more positive coverage of him and his wife on a news website, Walla, owned by the company.

The prime minister has argued that he is the victim of a left-wing and media conspiracy to topple his conservative government.

"These recommendations were determined and leaked even before the investigations began", Mr Netanyahu said in a statement.

The Bezeq case, known as Case 4000, is the most serious of all those of which Mr Netanyahu has been accused.

Two key figures have turned state's witnesses in the case, including former media adviser to the Netanyahu family Nir Hefetz.

Mr Netanyahu held the government's communications portfolio until previous year and oversaw regulation in the field.

Journalists who previously worked for Walla have confirmed that they were pressured into exclusively covering Netanyahu in a positive light.

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In a statement, police said the investigation concluded that Netanyahu and Elovitch engaged in a "bribe-based relationship".

Police recommended that charges also be brought against Elovitch and his wife.

"A prime minister with so many criminal cases around him can not continue in his job and must resign", said Avi Gabbay, the head of the Labor party. "Israel must go to elections", said Tamar Zandberg, head of the dovish Meretz party.

The police recommendations are non-binding. Now, the Israeli attorney general should decide whether to bring indictments in the case.

The appointment of Alsheikh's potential successor is being held up after a government-appointed committee rejected his candidacy, and Netanyahu has repeatedly criticized the police as the investigations into his behaviour have mounted.

Mr Netanyahu denied the bribery allegations against him and his wife. Netanyahu now leads a coalition with a razor-thin 61 seat majority in the 120-seat parliament.

Elections are now scheduled for November 2019. Reports have surfaced of Sara Netanyahu relaying requests to Bezeq officials. Hefetz was the third confidant of the prime minister to become a witness in various cases, joining former communications ministry director general Shlomo Filber and former chief of staff Ari Harow.

Sara Netanyahu has long faced allegations of extravagant living and abusive behaviour.

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