Thousands Attend Solidarity Rally for Prime Minister Netanyahu Amid Corruption Accusations

Thousands Attend Solidarity Rally for Prime Minister Netanyahu Amid Corruption Accusations

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is battling for political survival amid a range of corruption charges including allegations his family received lavish gifts from billionaire James Packer.

Likud members of parliament and staffers were apparently pressuring party rank-and-file to attend in an attempt to bolster Netanyahu's position.

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.

The fall of Mr. Netanyahu would also provide an opening for the leaders of main political ideologies fighting against the entrenched establishment and one another.

Last Thursday, Israeli police revealed they suspect Netanyahu of being involved in fraud, bribery and breach of trust in two cases, reports Associated Press.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu launched a blistering attack Wednesday, telling supporters that the media and left-wing Israelis "are engaged in an obsessive witch hunt against me and my family in order to execute a coup".

On Monday, Israel's Supreme Court ordered Netanyahu to disclose the dates of his phone calls with Amos Regev, the former editor-in-chief of the free newspaper Israel Hayom, and Sheldon Adelson, a USA billionaire and media mogul.

"They want to topple not only [me], they want to topple everyone.they know they can not beat us at the voting stations, so they try to attack democracy and topple us without elections", he said.

Experts who have been observing Israeli politics for decades also said that Netanyahu's fortunes may well be changing.

"For the first time, people are thinking that Netanyahu won't be the prime minister next time around, whether elections take place in a few months' time or a year and a half".

"It has never happened before", said Dan Margalit, a veteran journalist on Israeli television. All of the ministers and Knesset members from the Likud party have made an appearance, declaring their continued support for the prime minister.

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.

He says that the "leftist" media is teaming up with the political opposition to oust him and that they hope a police investigation will topple him because he can not be defeated at the polls.

Avraham Diskin, a political scientist at Jerusalem's Hebrew University, said there is no immediate threat and the goal of Wednesday's rally was to quash any thoughts of trying to challenge him.

Yesh Atid party chairman Yair Lapid said the pro-Netanyahu rally "crossed all lines".

Mr Harow was offered a light sentence in an unrelated matter in return for information about Mr Netanyahu in what the police have called Case 1000 and Case 2000. To some commentators, this indicates just how seriously Netanyahu is taking the latest developments.

A third probe, "File 3000" reportedly concerns a possible conflict of interests involving the Israeli government buying submarines from Germany.

Netanyahu has dismissed the suspicions as "background noise" and vowed to push forward.

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