Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Only one thing is missing: A bribe - Mati Tuchfeld

by Mati Tuchfeld

The police recommended indicting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on suspicion of bribery, but its report makes no mention of an actual quid pro quo transaction.

After a careful reading of the Israel Police report from Sunday, in which investigators claimed that in Case 4,000 an indictment is warranted against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, there is only one plausible conclusion: Netanyahu is right. Some people like Netanyahu, others don't. The same goes for Israel Police Commissioner Insp. Gen. Roni Alsheikh.

But when the dust settled on Sunday night, only one truth emerged: What the police submitted was a report written in haste and laden with irrelevant content that showed a degree of amateurism that topped even their previous report on Netanyahu.

In contrast, Netanyahu's speech several hours later managed to cast a  shadow on the report and on the particular timing of its release, a day before Alsheikh leaves his post.

The bottom line is that politically, the report helps one person – Netanyahu. If it were up to him, he would make sure that the upcoming elections focus on only one issue: the investigations against him and what the police say about his alleged culpability.

In the wake of the report and Netanyahu's speech, the Opposition has sounded the usual cries urging him to resign, showing only that it lacks any deep political acumen and just resorts to its Pavlovian responses time and again.

The police report is replete with details of how Netanyahu supposedly helped Shaul Elovitch, the controlling shareholder of telecommunications giant Bezeq, in his business dealings in exchange for favorable coverage in Walla, the Bezeq-owned online news portal.

But for all its drama, the report lacks one small thing: an actual bribery transaction.

Nowhere in the report is there any mention of a meeting, conversation or communications in which Netanyahu and Elovitch agreed on the terms of the alleged deal, regulation worth 1 billion shekels in return for positive coverage.

During his speech on Sunday, Netanyahu managed to debunk the claim that there was a quid pro quo (he even claimed that Elovitch's businesses took a financial hit during the period in question).

But even if we assume that Netanyahu did not make his case effectively in his speech, the purported bribery scheme is the lamest in history. Can you actually imagine the two meeting and making such a bizarre deal?

As for Alsheikh, the serial bungler has managed to bungle even his last full day on the job. Did he really think that no one would consider the timing of the report as suspicious?

Alsheikh failed to understand that he has long ago squandered any remaining good will he had. By now, everyone knows that the cynicism, hubris and mischievousness he has shown from his first day on the job know no bounds. A new commissioner will take his place soon, and regardless of who that is, we already know that he or she will be better than Alsheikh.

As for the police report – it will go down in history mainly as the "Alsheikh vendetta" rather than a serious legal document.

Mati Tuchfeld

Source: http://www.israelhayom.com/opinions/only-one-thing-is-missing-an-actual-transaction/

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