03:04 GMT04 August 2021
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    In an interview with Sputnik Ariel Bulshtein, a Likud Central committee member, lawyer and columnist for Israel Hayom, has commented on court proceedings against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's wife, Sara Netanyahu, which include misuse of state funds.

    Sputnik: What is your take on the scandal surrounding Netanyahu’s family and his wife in particular?

    Ariel Bulshtein: Israel is not a corrupt country, and Netanyahu and his family are not corrupted. On the contrary, Transparency International's 2017 Corruption Perception Index ranks the country 32nd out of 180, which is a good place, better than most European countries, better than the Czech Republic, Poland and Spain for example. The real reasons for the judicial attack against Netanyahu are strictly political. Israeli society once again elected Netanyahu to the country's top position, because he is the leader of the right-wing national political camp which enjoys the support of vast majority of Israeli citizens (actually, about 2/3 of country's Jewish population support right-wing parties). The left-wing political camp cannot win in the polls, that's why the lefties are trying to topple Netanyahu through false accusations. It's happened for the last twenty years, and all the accusations against Netanyahu have been proven absolutely baseless.

    READ MORE: Israelis Slam Netanyahu For Scandals, But Trust PM at Ballot Box – Consultant

    Sputnik: Mrs. Netanyahu could be facing up to five years in jail if found guilty. How likely is such an outcome for the first lady?

    Ariel Bulshtein: My prediction is that the charges against the first lady will be proven wrong. Even the judges understand that the accusations are not serious, and I believe they will put pressure on both sides to find a compromise solution without long and fruitless trial proceedings. In a worst case scenario for Mrs. Netanyahu, she will pay a small fine.

    Sputnik: How much do scandals like this affect the prime minister’s image in Israel?

    Ariel Bulshtein: It's obvious that the majority of Israelis do not believe the accusations against the prime minister and consider them as an anti-democratic attempt to change the current government and its policy. According to all the polls, people support Benjamin Netanyahu, and if the elections were to take place now, he would get a comfortable majority and would be nominated as prime minister again. However, continous media coverage of these false accusations do have a potential to harm Israeli image abroad, and it is very sad. 

    Sputnik: Mr. Netanyahu insists that the accusations against his family are delusional and baseless. If so, who would then benefit from marring their reputation?

    Ariel Bulshtein: Israeli left-wing parties and their representatives in mainstream media would like to achieve their ultimate goal — to oust Netanyahu and put an end to right-wing rule in Israel. Netanyahu is right when he claims that he is being targeted regardless of the truth and justice. The Left and the media's aim is to put pressure on law enforcement authorities to hand down an indictment at any cost, regardless of the truth and regardless of facts. This is a clearly defined tactic of the Left: to contrive endless scandals, endless reports and endless headlines so that maybe some accusations will stick and harm the image of Netanyahu. However, I think they will not succeed. Israeli democracy is stronger than any challenge, and only the Israeli public will decide who will lead the country.

    The views expressed in this article are solely those of Ariel Bulshtein and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Sputnik.

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

    Israel, Sara Netanyahu, corruption, probe
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