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March 16, 2018 12:18 pm

Israeli Finance Minister Threatens to Fold Government If Netanyahu Indicted

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Israeli Minister of Finance Moshe Kahlon. Photo: Marc Israel Sellem/Pool. – Israeli Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon said on Thursday that his party would leave the governing coalition — thereby, collapsing it — if Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is indicted on corruption charges.

In an interview with Hadashot News, Kahlon said the prime minister “will not be able to continue” if a trial begins against him.

However, Kahlon said he anticipated that Netanyahu would step down of his own accord if formally indicted or else he would be forced out by members of his coalition.

“If a trial begins against the prime minister, he cannot serve,” said Kahlon. “And do you know what? He doesn’t need me for that. In my opinion, he himself will get up and go, or the other parties [will force him out].”

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Kahlon’s Kulanu Party holds ten Knesset seats, the withdrawal of which from the coalition would topple the government.

Netanyahu is being investigated in three separate cases.

Case 4000 involves alleged regulations benefits Netanyahu arranged for communications company Bezeq in exchange for positive coverage from the Walla news site, owned by the same Shaul Elovitch. Case 1000 investigates the receipt of $282,000 worth of luxury gifts from billionaire benefactors Arnon Milchan and James Packer in exchange for favorable legislation and benefits. And Case 2000 involves an illicit deal between Netanyahu and Yediot Ahronot newspaper publisher Arnon Mozes in which the prime minister would help weaken rival newspaper Israel Hayom — owned by his supporter, Sheldon Adelson — in exchange for favorable coverage.

Netanyahu has denied any wrongdoing in all of these cases.

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