Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s political opponents have begun piling up pressure on him after more details emerged from a police investigation into bribery allegations.
On Wednesday, opposition leader Isaac Herzog called for Netanyahu to be stripped of the communications portfolio — which he holds along with the premiership — after reports emerged that he had discussed a possible deal with an Israeli media mogul that would have helped him in the run-up to 2015 polls.
According to Israeli daily Haaretz, police have recordings of a conversation between Netanyahu and Arnon Mozes, the publisher of Hebrew-language daily Yedioth Ahronoth, in which the two men appear to discuss ways of providing Netanyahu with positive pre-election media coverage.
In a letter to Israel’s attorney-general, Herzog said the affair showed Netanyahu had “a clear interest and direct affiliation” with the Israel Hayom newspaper (which typically portrays the prime minister in a positive light), Yedioth Ahronoth reported.
Netanyahu had previously claimed he had no direct influence over the newspaper’s operations.
The prime minister was also questioned by police twice last week regarding allegations he had received gifts from businessmen in return for political favours.
He has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing, however, saying of the investigation: “There won’t be anything because there is nothing.”