Published On: Tue, Jan 10th, 2017

Latest Benjamin Netanyahu Scandal Deepens: More Accusations and Calls for Resignations

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Over the weekend a new scandal revolving around Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu broke. This time he is accused of making back room deals with Israeli publisher Arnon “Noni” Mozes for more favorable coverage in Mozes’ Yedioth Ahronoth Hebrew Israeli daily newspaper.

It seems like scandals related to Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu are a dime a dozen. But this time his opponents think that he may finally be finished. This, in part, because Netanyahu supposedly stabbed his friend and backer billionaire American casino magnate Sheldon Adelson in the back. And the Israeli police reportedly have hours of tape recordings of Netanyahu’s meetings with Mozes, Israeli newspaper Haaretz reports.

According to the allegations, the Israeli Prime Minister asked Mozes to temper his paper’s criticisms of the Prime Minister. Apparently Arnon Mozes agreed to bury certain stories that were uncovered by Yediot Ahronoth and in exchange Netanyahu agreed to push through a new law which would limit the circulation of free daily newspapers. The law would be aimed specifically at Sheldon Adelson’s free Hebrew daily Israel Hayom.

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The story was a surprise when it broke because Adelson has been one of Netanyahu’s biggest supporters and his paper is seen as a backdoor for promoting the platform of Israel’s political right. It is free and loses money as a result. And Benjamin Netanyahu has been critical of attempts by his opposition to pass laws against the distribution of free newspapers because of this.

Adelson is just one of many wealthy foreign Jews who have supported Netanyahu in one way or another. Just before this story broke it was revealed that Canadian billionaire Ronald Lauder had given the Israeli Prime Minister many expensive gifts over the years including new suits. Benjamin Netanyahu dismissed this as a “so what” revelation. And Sheldon Adelson may not be so sorry if he must shut down Israel Hayom if the move comes in exchange for more positive coverage of Netanyahu and his Likud Party in other Israeli newspapers. He may feel that his paper has done its job and be happy to be rid of the money pit.

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Haaretz has also reported that Israel Hayom lost NIS 730 million ($190 million) in its first nine years of publication from 2007 to 2014. It was founded when Netanyahu was still the leader of the opposition.

On Monday Israel’s current leader of the opposition Isaac Herzog called on the country’s Attorney General to force Benjamin Netanyahu to give up his position as Communication’s Minister. Netanyahu has held several Cabinet ministries since he elections of 2015, keeping them so that they might be given to other parties which could join his coalition government at any time. Herzog says that while the allegations over Yediot Ahronoth are being investigated than Israel’s Prime Minister should not also be in charge of the ministry which oversees Israel’s press. Herzog also called for an investigation into Netanyahu’s personal ties to Israel Hayom.

Benjamin Netanyahu will soon mark eight consecutive years in office and 11 total years as Israel’s Prime Minister. He served previously from 1996-1999. He has already set a new record for most consecutive years in office and is trying to break David Ben-Gurion’s record of 13 and a half years total service as Israel’s PM. Ben-Gurion served two different times as Israel’s Prime Minister. As much as Netanyahu’s opponents would love for this latest scandal to bring him down, it does not seem that at this time it will prevent him from breaking this record.

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