“I AM NOT A CROOK.”

That has been the clear and defiant message of Trumpenyahu even as investigations into each of them have moved relentlessly forward over the last year.

The fact of the matter is that they each have sounded and acted like crooks–or at least people with a great deal to hide–since high level investigations into  possible criminal acts by each of them began.

Now investigations into each man’s actual behavior–not witch hunts or media bias or their political enemies–have resulted in recommended criminal charges and which could signal the political undoing of each of these pathological liars and egomaniacs could be coming sooner rather than later.

Today, the Israeli Police announced that based on its exhaustive investigation it will recommend that Prime Minister Netanyahu be indicted on multiple charges of accepting bribes,,corruption, fraud,  and breach of trust.

Netanyahu stated defiantly that he is innocent of all charges and has repeatedly described himself as the victim of a witch hunt choreographed by his political enemies, the biased media, and unfair investigators.

The investigation into the alleged misdeeds of President Trump and his campaign is based on a different set of details.  But, as we all know, Trump’s combative responses have mirrored those those of his Israeli counterpart.

Each man has done his best to obscure and obstruct justice and the investigations and to discredit the journalists who report what each man actually has said and done as “enemies” of the people” and purveyors of “fake news.”.  Each has done his best to ignore or roll back the longstanding and sacred commitments that each of their country’s has always had to a free press, freedom of expression and the principle that no person is above the law.

Each has not just suggested but actually taken action to change laws and traditions and, rights guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution to promote a personal agenda, thwart the efforts of those who are seeking only to find the truth.

Trump recently expressed  his “disgust” that “the press can say whatever it wants” and railed against perhaps the most sacred right guaranteed by the First Amendment to our Constitution–freedom of the press.

Four years ago the New York TImes ran a piece documenting many times the Netanyahu government has cracked down on the freedom of the press and expression in Israel with the marching orders coming from the top

Today, an Israeli journalist suggested that Netanyahu’s alleged crimes were not simply the result of personal greed but were also a reflection of his anger over his belief that the media never gave him the recognition or praise he felt he deserved for his accomplishments.  Those who watch President Trump might suggest that those views and motivations might apply to our own president as well.

We need to resist the temptation to simply whine about the personal characteristics and shortcomings of these two men.  About how each seems to show far more concern about maintaining power and burnishing his own image than he does about protecting the rights and freedoms of his own people–the people to whom each pledged loyalty and commitment when he took office.

We need to focus on the responsibility that those of us who care deeply about the future of the U.S. and Israel should feel to do everything we can to help the governments and people of our own countries to get back on the right track regarding commitment to justice and fairness and Jewish and American values.

We will see where all these legal developments lead for Trumpenyahu.  We will continue to see how each responds to developments going forward.

Real leaders respond to inconvenient truths by admitting their mistakes and trying to move forward.  Sadly, I fear that each of these men will continue to care only about themselves and to lie and slander those who they fear and kill the messengers of truth and justice instead of acknowledging and responding to their messages.

But at the end of the day, the most important factor will be how WE–decent people of good faith and focused on values–respond to THEM.