Israeli Prime Minister returns to court and political parties focus on his destiny

Jerusalem (AP) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is set to consider whether a country’s political parties will form the next government after a tightly divided election or resign to focus on him. As a result, legal issues returned to court for his corruption trial on Monday.

Between the testimony of witnesses in court in Jerusalem and consultations in the presidential palace throughout the city, it promised to be an extraordinary political drama day and focused on Netanyahu’s increasingly desperate efforts to maintain power. I guessed.

He is Israel’s longest-serving prime minister, and despite facing allegations of bribery, fraud and infringement of trust, he has been in power through four fierce elections in less than two years. The March 23 election was primarily a referendum on his leadership, but no clear verdict was obtained.

Israeli political parties will begin talks with President Reuven Rivlin later on Monday, recommending candidates for the task of forming the next government.

Neither Netanyahu’s allies nor enemies secured the dominant majority of the Israeli parliament, the Knesset. So his fate could fall on the former right-wing allies he had a relationship with, Naftali Bennett and Mansour Abbas. A small Arab Islamic leader who has not yet been involved in either Netanyahu’s pros or cons..

At the Jerusalem District Court, Netanyahu sat with a lawyer, and Chief Prosecutor Liat Benari read the accusations against him.

“The relationship between Netanyahu and the defendant has become a currency and can be traded,” she said. “Currency can distort the judgment of civil servants.”

Outside the courtroom, dozens of supporters and opponents of the prime minister gathered to emphasize the deep division of Israel and protest the other side of the building in the fierce police presence. Anti-Netanyahu protesters have been demonstrating weekly for several months, asking him to resign.

A delegation of Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud party, just a few kilometers away, officially nominated him as prime minister in a meeting with Librin.

Netanyahu has been charged with bribery, fraud, and back office in three cases. First, Netanyahu received hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of gifts from wealthy friends such as Hollywood film producer Arnon Milchan and Australian billionaire James Packer. In the second case, Netanyahu has been accused of trying to coordinate positive coverage in major Israeli treatises in exchange for curbing the distribution of free parent Netanyahu tabloids.

The third dubbed case 4000, which is the focus of the testimony of the first witness on Monday, is worth hundreds of millions of dollars to the owner of Israeli telecom giant Bezeq in return for Netanyahu’s active coverage on its news site Walla Claims to support the law.

Netanyahu denied cheating, dismissed charges against him as part of the media and law enforcement “witch hunt”, and left him. His trial began last year and could last for another two years.

In January Prosecutor claimed 315 cases It was more favorable to Netanyahu and his family as Walla was asked to revise the report. They said 150 were related to Netanyahu himself.

According to accusations, Bezeq CEO Shaul Elovitch has “heavy and ongoing pressure” on Walla’s former editor-in-chief, Iran Yeshua, to modify articles on the website to meet the demands of Netanyahu and his family. I put it on. ” Yeshua will run for Monday.

Israeli law does not require the prime minister to resign during the indictment, and Netanyahu refuses to resign. It divided the country deeply. The emergency unified government, which was formed last year to deal with the coronavirus crisis, collapsed in less than a year due to political turmoil and failure to approve the budget.

Netanyahu continued to take office for several years from 2009 to the 1990s, and in 2019 he lost Israeli founder David Ben-Gurion as the country’s longest-serving prime minister.