Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu is under deep trouble, he is facing multiple criminal indictments – bribery, fraud and breach of trust.
This would be the first time that an sitting prime minister in Israel is facing criminal charges in office.
The most serious allegations against Netanyahu involve his relationship with Shaul Elovitch, the controlling shareholder of Israel’s telecom giant Bezeq.
Police recommended an indictment in the case based on evidence collected that confidants of Netanyahu promoted regulatory changes worth hundreds of millions of dollars to Bezeq. In exchange, they believe Netanyahu used his connections with Elovitch to receive positive press coverage on Bezeq’s popular subsidiary news site, Walla.
Police have said their investigation concluded that Netanyahu and Elovitch engaged in a ‘bribe-based relationship.’”
Under Israeli law, “Netanyahu is not required to step down if he is indicted,”. “He is only required to step down if he is convicted and that conviction is upheld through the appeals process, which could take years.”
Despite this, a trial could prove politically toxic for Netanyahu. The Israel Democracy Institute said in a statement that the PM should seriously consider how fighting these charges would affect his next term in office.
Netanyahu has derided the slew of corruption investigations as a “witch hunt“. Netanyahu has dismissed the allegations as “ridiculous.”