Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on the day's biggest business stories

Subscribe to Axios Closer for insights into the day’s business news and trends and why they matter

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Stay on top of the latest market trends

Subscribe to Axios Markets for the latest market trends and economic insights. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sports news worthy of your time

Binge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with Axios Sports. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tech news worthy of your time

Get our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Get the inside stories

Get an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Denver news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Photo: Gali Tibbon/AFP/Getty Images

On Sunday, the Israeli police recommended that the country's attorney general indict Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara Netanyahu for alleged bribery due to their relationship with Israel's leading telecommunication tycoon.

Why it matters: This is a very big deal. Case 4000, as it is widely known, is the third time in the last year the police recommended Netanyahu be indicted for bribery. The previous recommendations dealt with Netanyahu allegedly taking "gifts" worth $200,000 from businessmen in return for allegedly promoting their interests (Case 1000) and an alleged bribe deal between Netanyahu and Arnon Mozes, the publisher of Israel's largest newspaper (Case 2000). But the allegations in Case 4000 are the gravest of all the corruption investigations against Netanyahu.

Background: Case 4000 has been investigated by the elite Israeli police unit Lahav 433, the Israeli equivalent of the FBI, and the Israeli Securities Authority since February 2018.

  • Netanyahu and his wife allegedly took bribes from Shaul Elovitz, a telecommunications tycoon who controls Israel's biggest telecom company, Bezeq.
  • According to the police statement, Netanyahu, who at the time was also the telecom minister, allegedly gave Elovitz regulatory benefits worth hundreds of millions of dollars. In return, Netanyahu and his wife meddled in the content of Walla, one of Israel's major news websites owned by Elovitz, and demanded positive coverage.

The police recommended that the attorney general indict Netanyahu for taking bribes, fraud, breach of trust and acceptance under false pretenses. The police recommended that Sara Netanyahu be indicted for taking bribes, fraud, breach of trust and obstruction of justice.

  • The police statement stressed that Netanyahu and Elovitz had a "relationship based on bribes" and that Netanyahu and his associates brazenly meddled — sometimes on a daily basis — in the coverage of Walla's website. It added that Netanyahu and his associates even tried to influence appointments of news editors and reporters in order to promote the Netanyahu family's interests.
  • During the investigation, the Israeli police recruited two state witnesses: Shlomo Filber, a Netanyahu confidant who was appointed as the director general of the telecom ministry and executed Netanyahu's orders regarding Bezeq telecommunications, and Nir Hefetz, the Netanyahu family's spin doctor who was in charge of the meddling with Walla's website.
  • The police also recommended that Elovitz and his wife be indicted for giving bribes to the Netanyahus as well as New York-based Israeli businessman Zeev Rubinstein, a close confidant of the Netanyahu family, for mediation in the bribe deal.

Netanyahu's reaction was a total rejection of the allegations: "The police recommendations about me and my wife don’t surprise anybody — and so is the timing of their publication. Those recommendations were leaked before the investigation even started. The police recommendations have no legal standing, and previous police recommendations regarding other politicians were rejected by the attorney general. I am sure that after the authorized officials will examine the issue they will conclude there was nothing."

  • Israeli opposition leaders attacked Netanyahu, claiming he is corrupt and calling for his resignation.
  • Ministers in the Likud, Netanyahu's party, issued statements attacking the police and defending Netanyahu.

What's next: Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit, who was until few years ago Netanyahu's Cabinet secretary, will decide in the next 3–4 months whether to indict Netanyahu and his wife in the corruption cases. His decision will influence Netanyahu's forthcoming political decisions — mainly the date for early elections. The decisions on the Netanyahu corruption cases will also affect the calculus of the Trump administration as they attempt to determine a release for their Israeli-Palestinian peace plan.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

4 hours ago - World

Over 170 Palestinians injured in clashes with Israeli police in Jerusalem

An injured man is carried away as Israeli security forces clash with Palestinian protesters at the al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem. Photo: Ahmad Gharabli/AFP via Getty Images

At least 178 Palestinians have been injured in clashes with Israeli police in Jerusalem, Reuters reported late Friday.

The big picture: The clashes come amid growing anger over the threatened eviction of Palestinians from their homes on land claimed by Jewish settlers in East Jerusalem. Tensions have also escalated in the occupied West Bank in recent weeks.

Updated 6 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus cases hit a seven-month low — Majority back vaccine proof requirements for travel, schools and work — The race to avoid a possible "monster" COVID variant.
  2. Politics: Oklahoma secures $2.6 million refund for hydroxychloroquine purchase — Why Biden's latest vaccine goal is his hardest yet.
  3. Vaccines: Pfizer begins application for full FDA approval of COVID-19 vaccine — Moderna says its COVID booster shot shows promise against variants.
  4. Economy: U.S. adds just 266,000 jobs in April, far below expectations — Americans' return to the skies could benefit smaller airlines.
  5. World: WHO authorizes China's Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use — Mixed response in Europe to Biden's vaccine patents bombshell.
  6. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.

Ohio GOP censures Rep. Anthony Gonzalez over Trump impeachment vote

Photo: Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

The Ohio Republican Party on Friday censured Rep. Anthony Gonzalez (R-Ohio) and called for him to resign for voting to impeach former President Trump in January, Reuters reports.

The big picture: Gonzalez is the latest Republican lawmaker to be punished for voting to impeach the former president on a charge of inciting the deadly Jan. 6 insurrection.