Tens of thousands of people took to the streets of Tel Aviv to protest against corruption.
MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Israeli police have arrested 17 senior officials in the city of Rishon LeTsiyon over bribery in the framework of the operation aimed at revealing connection between criminal elements and local, municipal and national governmental officials, The Jerusalem Post newspaper reported.
The arrests followed large-scale anti-corruption protests in the city of Tel Aviv on Saturday, when over 30,000 people gathered in Tel Aviv to protest against corruption, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his government. The rally was particularly triggered by a draft bill, which, if passed, will prohibit police from issuing recommendations for indictments against a prime minister.
READ MORE: ‘March of Shame’: Tens of Thousands of Israelis Protest Against Gov’t Corruption
At the moment, the police are carrying out two investigations into the prime minister: Case 1000, focusing on whether Netanyahu provided anything in return for expensive gifts from businessmen, and Case 2000, an alleged deal between Netanyahu and the Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper’s publisher Arnon Mozes on exchange of reduced critical coverage of the prime minister in return for weakening of the newspaper’s competitor.
The Israeli prime minister has strongly denied any wrongdoing, saying that he is the victim of a smear campaign by political opponents. According to a November report by Israel’s Channel 10 News, sources involved in the ongoing investigation have revealed that there is now sufficient evidence to charge Netanyahu and his wife with bribery for accepting tens of thousands of dollars worth of gifts from well-heeled business associates.