Netanyahu delivers fiery speech at rally

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends the weekly cabinet meeting at his office in Jerusalem

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's circle attempted to convey calm Sunday amid reports of a slew of corruptions charges against him that threatened to force him from office.

The event, held at the Tel Aviv Fairgrounds, drew approximately 3,000 supporters, including many Likud Knesset members and all the party's government ministers.

Party leaders described the gathering as an attempt to counter what they believe is a campaign by a hostile media and overzealous police and prosecutors.

And in an effort to raise the party's morale, Mr. Netanyahu also spoke of Israel's growth and achievements during his tenure over the past eight years.

Netanyahu's former chief of staff and longtime confidant, Ari Harow, recently signed a settlement connected to a separate case in which he agreed to testify against his former mentor.

The Netanyahus have repeatedly denied all allegations of wrong-doing made against them.

Police have questioned the Prime Minister four times during the monthslong investigation.

"Unlike [former prime ministers Ehud] Barak, [Ehud] Olmert and [Ariel] Sharon, Netanyahu has not buckled under the pressure".

"Applying more pressure on Netanyahu will only make him more popular", Akunis reportedly said.

Defiant: "I have nothing to fear", said Netanyahu, per the Jerusalem Post. He had Netanyahu's ear and is widely seen as the man who can spill the beans on his dealings.

Case 2,000 involves a deal Netanyahu allegedly discussed with the owner of one of Israel's largest newspapers, Yedioth Ahronoth, for better coverage in return for curbs on competition from a free paper owned by USA casino mogul Sheldon Adelson.

"It has never happened before", said Dan Margalit, a veteran journalist on Israeli television. The absence of prominent retired Likud personalities such as Moshe Arens, Uzi Landau and Limor Livnat seemed to undermine Netanyahu's and Bitan's message that the prime minister enjoys strong support inside the party.

He added that both Gideon Sa'ar and Gilad Erdan are aware that if they want to replace Netayahu some day, they have to support him today because if they don't do so, the people will not be kind to them.

Police recommended that Mrs Netanyahu be indicted over the alleged spending of public funds at the couple's private home earlier this year.

"Once the attorney general lays down an indictment, he has to provide the facts", Ms. Schneider said. That means his short-term future will likely depend on whether he can maintain political and public backing.

Yesh Atid party chairman Yair Lapid said the pro-Netanyahu rally "crossed all lines". "The whole point it to scare any of the "pretenders" against getting ideas in their head".

In a Facebook video, Netanyahu dismissed the developments as "the inevitable scandal-of-the-week".

This is the case involving Yediot Achronot publisher Arnon Mozes, in which Netanyahu allegedly made a deal with Yediot - obtaining favorable media coverage in exchange for turning his back on supporter Yisrael Hayom, which is published and owned by major Netanyahu backer Sheldon Adelson.



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