Israel PM, wife questioned again over graft allegations

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is facing an eighth police grilling over corruption allegations that have fuelled speculation he could be forced to step down or call an early election

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is facing an eighth police grilling over corruption allegations that have fuelled speculation he could be forced to step down or call an early election

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu faced questions from police Friday in connection with a corruption investigation, two weeks after investigators recommended he be indicted on separate bribery and breach of trust charges.

Netanyahu was questioned at the official residence in Jerusalem under caution for five hours in the Bezeq affair, also known as Case 4000, while his wife Sara Netanyahu gave testimony at the offices of the police's Lahav 433 anti-corruption unit in Lod, Israeli media reported. Nir Hefetz was Mr Netanyahu's head of communications and David Sharan served as his chief of staff. In return, police say Mr Netanyahu operated on Mr Milchan's behalf on United States visa matters, legislated a tax break and connected him with an Indian businessman.

A final case, dubbed 3000, is being investigated separately and has involved Netanyahu allies, but the prime minister has not been named as a suspect.

Police question Benjamin Netanyahu over third corruption case

He is also suspected of trying to bribe a retired judge to block a probe into the prime minister's wife over alleged misuse of public funds.

The company has denied wrongdoing.

Benjamin Netanyahu allegations: is Israeli prime minister running out of time? They are both possible criminal suspects in the case.

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Thursday, however, their footsteps led them to the bench press station and podium sessions with members of the media. Whether the ball's on the 1-yard line of the 99-yard line, I like to think I can find a way to get into the end zone.

Meanwhile, about 70 protesters gathered outside Netanyahu's residence, demanding his resignation.

Filber, a Netanyahu ally for more than 20 years and a former communications ministry director general, is expected be a state witness in exchange for avoiding jail.

"A prime minister under investigation can not, and may not, take crucial decisions", said Shuki Cohen, 63, an economist from Moshav Arugot. He has said he will seek a fifth term in a national election due in late 2019.

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In one, known as Case 1000, he is suspected of bribery over gifts, which police say were worth almost $300,000, that he received from wealthy businessmen.

Bezeq's owner, Shaul Elovitch, is a longtime friend of Netanyahu and has also been detained as part of the investigation. The attorney-general must determine whether to accept the police recommendation to charge him.

In return, Walla, a news site controlled by Elovitch, allegedly refrained from criticizing Netanyahu and gave him and his wife, Sara Netanyahu, positive coverage.

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So far, partners in Mr Netanyahu's governing coalition have stood by him, saying that they are awaiting the next moves by the Attorney-General. But surveys also show strong support among Netanyahu's core base, while the Likud Party remains ahead of all other Israeli parties.

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