Did Bibi Have His Hand in the Till?

  • Share
  • Read Later
It may be somewhat unusual in a democracy for police to barge in on the former prime minister and search his house, but Israel isn't exactly reeling with shock over the corruption investigation of Bibi Netanyahu. Mr. Netanyahu was due to be questioned by police on embezzlement allegations Thursday, following a Wednesday police raid in which dozens of valuables believed to be gifts presented him while in office were removed from his house. "There were certainly rumors of corruption during Netanyahu's term in office, and nobody was particularly shocked at allegations that he and his wife had pilfered the state silver," says TIME Jerusalem bureau chief Lisa Beyer. "But he's always gotten out of trouble before, and I wouldn't bet against him this time."

One way out might be to blame it on the missus. The charges revolve around domestic maintenance services provided free by a contractor friend of the Netanyahus' at their private residence, which were later billed to the prime minister's office. "Sara Netanyahu isn't particularly well-liked by the Israeli public and is considered rather acquisitive," says Beyer. "The Netanyahu camp has suggested she accepted those services unbeknownst to Bibi, and that she was unaware she was doing anything wrong." Despite the fuss, the investigation has had little impact on day-to-day Israeli politics. "It was notable how few members of Bibi's Likud party rushed to his defense," says Beyer. "He's simply not a political player right now, although some people believe he may make a political comeback one day. Corruption charges would certainly hurt his chances." Which may be why no one's rushing to call him Dreyfus.