After an investigation lasting four years, a sitting Israeli Prime Minister is for the first time in Israel’s history indicted on criminal charges—namely bribery, fraud, and breach of the public trust. Notwithstanding that the investigations were based on sweeping evidence and testimony, and professionally reviewed, Netanyahu accuses the process of “being a staged coup to rid him from office.” Two of the three cases of alleged bribery and influence peddling occur where Netanyahu provides favors to Israeli businessmen in a quid-pro-quo expectation that the Netanyahus would receive favorable media coverage or have negative coverage suppressed. Commenting about one of the indictments, AG Mandelblit says that “such conduct on the part of the person holding the highest-ranking position in the executive branch deeply and fundamentally harms the rule of law, integrity and public trust.” The indictments come while Israeli parliamentarians are trying to form a coalition government; failure to do so would likely allow Netanyahu to continue in office as Prime Minister until another possible Knesset election. A new coalition government without Netanyahu at the helm would hasten the termination of his service as the longest-sitting Prime Minister in Israel’s history.
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