By MARCY OSTER
JERUSALEM (JTA) –Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wants a chance to take on his accusers on live television.
Speaking Monday night, Jan. 7, the prime minister said that during investigations into the corruption cases against him he “demanded a face-to-face confrontation with states’ witnesses.” He said he was denied several times.
“Today I repeat that demand, and as far as I am concerned it should be on live television,” Netanyahu said.
His statement was carried live on Israel’s major news programs and streamed on his Facebook page, but no reporters were invited.
Netanyahu also said that police have ignored potential witnesses that could have testified on his behalf.
“There is nonstop pressure on the attorney general to indict me,” he said. “Maybe if I proposed a new disengagement or divided Jerusalem or abandoned our security they would leave me alone, but I will never do that.”
Netanyahu scoffed at the idea that he bribed Yediot Acharonot publisher Arnon Mozes to get good coverage, saying “Me? The person most hated by the media? It’s absurd.”
Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit is expected to make a decision by February on whether or not to indict Netanyahu in three corruption cases. The police have recommended that the prime minister be charged in each case.
Netanyahu has said he would not step down if called to a pre-indictment hearing in order to defend himself against the charges.
Israel is holding national elections on April 9, and Netanyahu is predicted to win another term.