Only four hours after Netanyahu’s announcement, Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit filed the indictment against the prime minister in Jerusalem.
By World Israel News Staff
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s announcement on Tuesday that he would withdraw his bid for immunity from prosecution removed the last potential obstacle to an indictment in three corruption cases. Four hours later, Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit filed the indictment in Jerusalem, opening the case against the prime minister.
It’s the first time in Israeli history a sitting prime minister faces indictment.
It remains to be seen what impact the indictment will have on Netanyahu’s election chances. The Blue and White party was quick to strike, arguing that the prime minister can’t both deal with the court cases and the demands of leadership.
Blue and White leader and head of the opposition, Benny Gantz, released a statement following Netanyahu’s announcement.
“Netanyahu is going to trial. Israeli citizens face a clear choice: a prime minister who will work for them, or a prime minister who deals with himself,” Gantz said. “No one can run a state and at the same time manage three serious criminal cases for bribery, fraud and breach of trust.”
Blue and White MK Yair Lapid, No. 2 on the party list, echoed Gantz’s remarks to Ynet, “In political terms it is over. Obviously, one cannot go to court every day, manage the affairs of the state and at the same time manage cases of bribery, fraud and breach of trust and at the same time dealing with the ‘deal of the century.'”
Netanyahu made his announcement only hours before the Knesset was to vote on whether to establish a committee that would decide on his immunity request. The request was expected to pass as 65 Knesset members had already signaled they would vote in favor.
Netanyahu wrote in his Facebook post, “Since I was not given due process, because all the rules of Knesset work were trampled underfoot, and since the results of the procedure were pre-determined without proper discussion, I decided not to let this dirty game continue.”