TEL AVIV – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu faces trial on corruption charges today.
This is the first case in the history of the country when the incumbent head of government is being accused of criminal proceedings.
The first hearing of the Jerusalem District Court in three cases brought against the country’s prime minister took place on May 24. According to The Times of Israel, it lasted about an hour.
Criminal proceedings brought against the head of the Israeli Cabinet of Ministers are known as 1000, 2000, and 4000.
Case 1000 – fraud and breach of trust: Netanyahu is accused of receiving gifts – mainly cigars and bottles of champagne – from influential businessmen in exchange for services;
Case 2000 – Fraud and Breach of Trust: Netanyahu is accused of offering to help improve the distribution of the Israeli newspaper Yediot Ahronot in exchange for positive coverage;
Case 4000 – Bribery, fraud and breach of trust: as Prime Minister and Communications Minister during the alleged crime, Netanyahu is accused of promoting regulatory decisions favorable to the controlling shareholder of Bezeq telecommunications giant Shaul Elovich in exchange for positive coverage of the news site included in Bezeq group.
It is noted that Netanyahu insisted on a video broadcast of the whole process, but the court refused him this. About two dozen people were present inside the courtroom, all of them were in protective masks in accordance with the existing measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
According to the Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper, the meeting was technical in nature. The publication clarifies that the consideration of cases on the merits can begin in six months or a year, and recalls that the case of Netanyahu’s predecessor Ehud Olmert was opened in 2007, transferred to court in August 2009, and only in September 2012 he was found guilty.
The final verdict was issued to Olmert only in May 2014. By the time the trial began, Netanyahu’s predecessor had already left the post of head of the Cabinet.
The next meeting on cases against Netanyahu will be held on July 19 and will be held without the participation of the prime minister.
Netanyahu himself denies all allegations against him and calls them “biased and exaggerated.” He also said that he was the “victim of a witch hunt” conducted by the media and his opponents.
The prime minister accused the police and prosecutors of attempting a “coup d’etat using false charges” and called for an investigation into the actions of the investigators themselves.