Israeli AG Says Netanyahu Isn’t Obliged To Step Down Due To Trial

  • Benjamin Netanyahu is by law allowed to proceed with his duties.
  • Netanyahu is facing growing opposition.
  • Naftali Bennetthas become a fierce critic since joining the opposition in March and has constantly faulted Netanyahu’s coronavirus response.

Israel’s Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit has said that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu doesn’t have to step down from his position of leadership due to his pending graft case. AG Mandelblit spoke during an Israel Bar Association conference in Herzliya earlier this week. The AG added that Netanyahu is not allowed to  appoint legal officials while case is pending.

Avichai Mandelblit, 14th and current Attorney General of Israel.

“Starting in the coming months, the prime minister’s trial will be held at the Jerusalem District Court, with a high frequency of hearings… To me this fact in itself doesn’t establish any cause for the prime minister’s recusal,”  said Mandelblit.

Avichai has underlined that the prime minister is by law allowed to proceed with his duties as long as he doesn’t interfere with the judicial process and matters pertaining to his case. As such, Netanyahu has been barred from appointing legal officers and security officials until his trial is concluded.

Netanyahu has been facing growing opposition in recent months. Tens of thousands of Israelis have taken to the streets to protest his leadership. Groups of protestors have also held demonstrations outside his residence for several weeks now.

On Tuesday, former ally and Yamina party chief Naftali Bennett, voiced his opposition to the prime minister. Political analysts contend that he may become a political opponent in the elections further down the line because of his increasingly condemnatory rhetoric against Netanyahu.

He has become a fierce critic since joining the opposition in March and has constantly faulted Netanyahu’s coronavirus response. Going by his most recent remarks, Netanyahu’s current focus is his trial and political status, stating, “I am saying something significant… He is not focused. Bibi is not the public’s enemy. I think he has done well and that his head today is not in the state’s affairs — he is too busy with other things.”

Yamina party chief Naftali Bennett

The prime minister is facing significant public condemnation due to the graft allegations leveled against him which threaten to mar his legacy. The country has also yet to heal from the numerous elections held since 2019 that sawed significant political discord due to deadlock.

Ultimately, both Netanyahu and his current coalition partner, Benny Gantz, failed to achieve the required number of seats in the Knesset, forcing them to form a coalition government.

Netanyahu Not Allowed To Appoint Judicial And Security Officials

Netanyahu faces several graft charges that include bribery and breach of trust. He has denied any wrongdoing and labeled the current proceedings as a political witch-hunt instigated by his political rivals to take him down.

Netanyahu is facing a real threat to his premiership because of the trial. Under the current terms of his coalition deal with Gantz, his position can be voided if the court disqualifies him as prime minister within the first six months of the alliance.

That said, Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit’s recent proclamation allowing him to carry on with his duties as prime minister has disappointed many of his political opponents.

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Samuel Gush

Samuel Gush is a Technology, Entertainment, and Political News writer at Communal News.

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