Binyamin Netanyahu: corruption charges against Israeli Prime Minister

Binyamin Netanyahu
Credit: Irish Times

The Attorney General of Israel has accused Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu of taking bribes, cheating and breach of trust in three separate cases.

Netanyahu is accused of taking gifts from wealthy businessmen and sided with him to gain more press coverage.

Netanyahu has denied these allegations and said that he has been a victim of 'witchhunt'. Netanyahu says he has been targeted by leftist opponents and the media.

He has insisted that he will not resign and that he is not legally obliged to do so.

Netanyahu also said that a coup is being planned to remove him from the post.
Binyamin Netanyahu
Credit: Vox
He said, "This evening we have become a conspiracy to plot a coup against a Prime Minister. All of this is happening under false accusations and faulty investigation process ... but I think if investigators and police are doing something wrong And if you can't see it, you're blind ... "

Netanyahu is facing allegations at a time when there is already a situation of political deadlock in Israel. The two general elections held in April and September were inconclusive here.

On Wednesday, Benny Gantz, a rival of Netanyahu and in the race for prime minister against him, said that he failed to form a coalition government despite having a majority in Parliament.

Israel's President, Ruven Rivlin, told the ministers to agree on one name for the post of Prime Minister within 21 days to prevent the country from having three general elections in a single year.
Binyamin Netanyahu
Credit: SBS

What are the allegations on Netanyahu?

Attorney General Avikhai Mandoblitt said in February that he wanted to prosecute Netanyahu in three cases.

Giving information about his decision, he said, "I told Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu about my decision today. I told that he would be tried on three charges. The day an Attorney General talks of a prime minister in a criminal case in a serious case of corruption is sad. Today is a day of sorrow for me and the people of Israel. ''

The cases going on against Netanyahu are known as Cases 1,000, 2,000 and 3,000. All these cases were pending and last month a final hearing was held on all three.

Case 1,000: In this case, Netanyahu is accused of cheating and breaking trust. He is accused of taking expensive gifts like pink champagne and cigars in exchange for a job from a rich friend of his. Netanyahu says that all these gifts were received only because of friendship and he did not take the gifts wrongly in exchange for any work. Netanyahu's friend has denied any such allegations.

Case 2,000: This case is also about fraud and breach of trust. In this, Netanyahu is accused of approving a major newspaper publisher for a good coverage of his party and a deal to weaken his rival party. In this case also Netanyahu and the newspaper publisher have also denied the allegations.

Case 3,000: This is the most serious case among the three cases and Netanyahu is accused of taking bribe. Apart from this, they are also accused of breaking trust and cheating.

It is alleged that Netanyahu promoted a regulatory decision in favor of a major telecommunications company so that those companies were able to place Netanyahu's supporting and positive news on their websites.

However, Netanyahu says that the decision in favor of the company was supported by the experts and the company has denied the allegations of any improper step.
Credit: Irish Times

What will happen next?

It is not clear yet what effect these cases will have on Netanyahu's future. Until he is convicted, he will be considered innocent and there is no legal hurdle in his way to remain Prime Minister.

It will take months for these cases to be brought to the court and even after being convicted, Netanyahu will not be able to resign immediately. This entire process can take years.

However, journalists say that all of these will definitely raise questions on Netanyahu's leadership and handling capacity.

It is expected that some non-governmental organizations will file a petition in the Supreme Court forcing Netanyahu to resign.

Earlier, the Supreme Court of Israel had said in one of its decisions that if a criminal case is instituted against a cabinet minister, he will have to resign. Now the Supreme Court will have to see whether its decision will apply to the Prime Minister or not.

At the same time, Netanyahu's allies are trying to get a bill passed in Parliament to prevent him from prosecuting his post.