Is Netanyahu the new Chirac?

Many in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s circle are looking toward Paris with trepidation these days, ahead of the planned international peace conference in the French capital later this month. But, some voices in the Likud make it clear that Netanyahu himself is eyeing the Élysée Palace with envy.

No, not because of Netanuyahu’s vendetta against the media, though the Palace’s last two residents (Nicolas Sarkozy, François Hollande) left their significant others for sexy starlets (Carla Bruni, Julie Gayet) while in office without the locals so much as batting an eyelash, while in Israel Netanyahu can’t so much as mention his wife without certain journalists getting palpitations.

The reason is the ongoing investigation into allegations that Netanyahu illegally accepted gifts from wealthy benefactors. The prime minister was questioned under caution on Monday, and is expected to be interrogated again on Friday.

Since the turn of the 21st century, nearly every politician at or near the top in Israel has been subjected to a criminal investigation, and probe after probe of Netanyahu’s conduct have come and gone without an indictment, leading him to adopt this catchphrase about investigations: “There won’t be anything, because there isn’t anything.”

In France, Netanyahu may have thought to himself, I wouldn’t have to keep going through this.

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