Ben-Eliezer Interrogated for a Second Time over Corruption
The Lahav 433 unit of the Israel Police interrogated MK Binyamin Ben-Eliezer (Labor) for the second time in one week on Wednesday, questioning the former presidential hopeful for over three hours on suspicion of receiving illegal funds.
On Friday, the MK was interrogated for five hours before being released.
He is reportedly suspected of having received large sums of money from several benefactors, including from wealthy businessman Avraham Nanikashvili, who was recently questioned in connection with another case related to corruption at the Ashdod Port.
On Saturday, the Ben-Eliezer announced his resignation from the presidential race.
"Since I announced my candidacy, there has been an aggressive and orchestrated smear campaign against me, with the sole purpose of preventing me from being president," Ben-Eliezer said in a statement.
"With a very heavy heart, I've decided to withdraw from the race," added the 78-year-old Ben-Eliezer, who was a general in the IDF and later held several cabinet posts in the Knesset.
Ben-Eliezer has continues to deny the charges against him, attributing his withdrawal to his desire to allow the presidential race to commence on schedule.
Despite the denial, the investigation against the MK has intensified, causing a media storm after police found a safety deposit box in his possession containing hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash.