JERUSALEM (AA) - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemned the Israeli Attorney General's decision Thursday to criminal indict him, calling it an attempted coup.
In a televised speech shortly after the indictment was announced, Netanyahu claimed the investigation was biased by the police and investigators.
“This evening we are witnesses to an attempted government coup against the prime minister, using false allegations and stained investigations,” said Netanyahu.
“I respect the legal establishment in Israel, but you need to be blind to ignore that something wrong is happening against me from the police, prosecution,” he added.
Netanyahu accused Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit of publishing the indictment at a sensitive time during the elections.
“[The] timing of decisions draws legal process against me into question. We need a law enforcement arm which the public trusts,” he said.
Right-wing Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Lieberman said Netanyahu should be given a chance to prove he is innocent in court.
Centrist Blue and White Party leader Benny Gantz said Netanyahu has no public or moral mandate to make fateful decisions.
He, along with his partner in the party, Yair Lapid, called Netanyahu to resign.
Mandelblit indicted Netanyahu on charges which include bribery, fraud and breach of trust.
He was charged in three different cases.
In the first case known as 1000, which involves Israeli Hollywood producer Arnon Milchan, who was allegedly asked to purchase luxury items for Netanyahu and his wife, the prime minister was charged with a breach of public trust and fraud.
In the second case, 2000, which relates to a deal for favorable media coverage with Arnon Mozes, publisher of prominent Hebrew-language daily, Yedioth Ahronoth, Netanyahu was charged with breach of public trust and fraud.
In the third case, 4000, Netanyahu was charged with bribery for awarding favors to Israel’s Bezeq Telecom Company in return for favorable coverage on the company’s news website.
The indictment made him the first prime minister in Israeli history to be indicted while in office.