- The head of the Israeli government said he “wants to put an end to the dirty game” of his political opponents.
- Netanyahu denies all allegations of corruption.
- Surveys predicted Netanyahu’s low chances for parliamentary immunity.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was officially indicted in three corruption cases, a first for a sitting Prime Minister. The decision came hours after Netanyahu announced he won’t be seeking immunity from prosecution in his corruption cases, early Tuesday. Netanyahu made the announcement in Washington, where he’s been meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump, to discuss his Middle East peace plan to be unveiled later today. Netanyahu’s main rival, Benny Gantz, has also been there. He’s now on a flight back to Israel.
Netanyahu wanted immunity from a special committee in the Knesset, but didn’t have the votes to win this fight. Netanyahu hates to be the loser. He once was quoted as saying, “I always get what I want.” He was also hoping to meet President Trump with Gantz, the head of the opposition next to him, which didn’t happen either. Netanyahu apparently hoped President Trump would play matchmaker, with the three of them coming to the White House, shaking hands, and going for a unity government. Thus, there would be no need for the coming elections in March.
Gantz, who doesn’t have a lot of experience in politics, was smart enough not to fall into this trap, and he made it clear that he’s going back to Israel in order to vote against the immunity. On the other hand, Netanyahu also likes to come up as the victim. He could say that there is a plot of the politicians who didn’t intend to look to the facts and judge him fairly.
Without the immunity that protects him from prosecution, Netanyahu may face trial on corruption charges even before the Knesset elections scheduled for March 2. It is expected that the meeting of the Israeli Knesset will discuss the creation of a committee to decide on the provision of Netanyahu’s parliamentary immunity.
Surveys Give Low Chance of Netanyahu Parliamentary Immunity
Benjamin Netanyahu announced his intention to request parliamentary immunity from the Knesset in the light of corruption charges against him. However, according to opinion polls, the politician’s chances of receiving such immunity were slim. Only 33 percent of the country’s inhabitants supported the prime minister’s position. Another 51 percent of Israelis are opposed, Israeli television reported.
Corruption Accusations Against Benjamin Netanyahu
Allegations of bribery, fraud, and breach of trust were brought against the Israeli prime minister in November 2019. Among other things, Netanyahu is suspected of providing legal privileges to Bezeq telecommunications concern when he served as Minister of Communications. In response, the media owned by the concern was supposed to cover Netanyahu’s activities in a positive manner.
In addition, it is alleged that Netanyahu and his family accepted gifts from the American producer Arnon Milchen and Australian businessman James Packer from the American producer, for the total amount of one million shekels (€258 thousand).
Netanyahu himself repeatedly denied all the allegations against him. If the court finds the Israeli Prime Minister guilty of corruption, he faces up to 10 years in prison. The maximum sentence on the remaining counts is 3 years in prison.