Israelis See Beginning of the End of Netanyahu Tenure

There was no sense of surprise when this week Israeli police at last released its recommendation that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu be charged with fraud and bribery in the two cases under investigation. The national debate fueled by media reporting quickly turned to prognostications about the prime minister’s future, foremost being the matter of at what point he would be required to step down. The first polls published indicate continued support for Netanyahu by roughly a third of the population, with about half the country in favor of the PM resigning. His Likud party, however, remains in the top spot among the nation’s voters despite the Netanyahu scandals. But the matter of stepping aside won’t come until the attorney general decides whether or not to accept the police recommendation – a process that could take a number of months. If there is any real sense of surprise, it comes with the revelation that one of Netanyahu’s political rivals – former television personality-turned-politician Yair Lapid, who heads his own party – is a key witness for the prosecution. That has triggered a bitter war of words led by Netanyahu himself who used a pre-scheduled speech to note a blatant issue of conflict of interest Lapid and a key figure in the case that was ignored by police.

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