Install

Get the latest updates as we post them — right on your browser

. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Netanyahu Vows Scandal Will Not Topple Him

TEL AVIV, Israel -- Saying "the truth will triumph," Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed Thursday to stay in power despite police recommendations he be indicted in a corruption scandal.


Addressing Likud party loyalists, Netanyahu acted as if he were at an election victory party, giving a thumbs-up sign and beaming as he pledged to fight rather than quit. "This government is not going anywhere. We are not going anywhere. We are staying where the people and history have put us," Netanyahu said as prosecutors met at a secluded location near Jerusalem to decide whether to charge him.


Dropping a political bombshell, police wrapped up a three-month probe into the appointment of an attorney general by recommending Netanyahu be indicted on charges of fraud and breach of trust. A decision is expected by early next week.


"I have come to tell you today that we will continue to lead the state of Israel. ... We will continue on this path until the year 2000 and, I tell you, beyond the year 2000," Netanyahu said.


"I am convinced the truth will triumph," said Netanyahu, who has vehemently denied the allegations of influence-peddling. He said his office had been inundated with supportive phone calls from the public.


The crowd of several hundred at Likud party headquarters gave him a standing ovation before the 10-minute speech and invoked Netanyahu's nickname, shouting "Bibi, king of Israel."


Netanyahu's remarks were the first by the 47-year-old leader since police stunned the country Wednesday. In the speech, he did not address the charges directly or say what he would do if prosecutors decided to indict him.


Overshadowed by the question mark over Netanyahu's future, U.S. envoy Dennis Ross tried to salvage Israel-PLO peacemaking on the second day of a Middle East mission.


Netanyahu's communications chief David Bar-Illan tried to put a good face on the mission, saying: "At least for a few days ... it will be very difficult to make decisions, I imagine, on either side.


"But I expect that once this has gotten out of the way, the peace process will continue," he added.


Prosecutors pored for a third straight day over police recommendations to try Netanyahu over the appointment of political crony Roni Bar-On as attorney general in January. Bar-On resigned hours after the appointment amidst public outcry he was not fit for the job.


Israel's Channel One has alleged since the short-lived appointment three months ago that Aryeh Deri, an ultra-Orthodox coalition partner on trial for corruption, pushed Bar-On for the attorney general's job in hopes of winning a plea bargain.


Israeli television said Deri had promised that in return, his Shas party would support Netanyahu's deal with the Palestinians for an Israeli troop redeployment in Hebron in the West Bank.


Attorney General Elyakim Rubinstein promised to act by Monday on a 995-page police recommendation to charge Netanyahu, his director general Avigdor Lieberman, Justice Minister Tzachi Hanegbi, and Deri.


The battle for public opinion turned fierce, meanwhile, between Netanyahu's supporters and the Labor party opposition led by Shimon Peres, who lost the national election to Netanyahu 11 months ago by fewer than 30,000 votes.


Labor's parliamentary faction demanded Netanyahu resign. Peres called the affair a "political earthquake."