High Court to decide Netanyahu’s eligibility to form gov’t while under indictment

Israel’s High Court of Justice accepted on Sunday jurisdiction over a petition claiming that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is barred by law from forming the next government based on his indictment.

By World Israel News Staff

On Sunday, Israel’s High Court of Justice announced it would preside over a hearing on December 31 to assess the merits of a petition arguing that it must issue a ruling on whether it is legal to permit Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to form Israel’s next government in light of his recent indictments.

According to the petition, which was filed by attorney Dafna Holtz-Lachner on behalf of 67 other individuals, the court should rule on Netanyahu’s eligibility to form a government in the event he succeeds in the next round of elections, according to a Times of Israel report. The petition argues that this issue should be resolved, regardless of whether Netanyahu can currently be forced to resign as interim prime minister.

The appeal acknowledges that the court might reach a different result in a case involving an indicted serving premier, as opposed to an indicted interim prime minister, such as Netanyahu. Specifically, the petition argues that permitting an indicted sitting prime minister to continue serving in his post is not analogous to allowing, at the outset, an indicted interim prime minister to form a new government.

The hearing is slated to be presided over by a three-judge panel led by Chief Justice Esther Hayut and including Deputy Chief Justice Hanan Melcer and Justice Uzi Vogelman, reported the Times.

In preparation for the hearing, the court reportedly requested Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit to draft and file a legal opinion assessing Netanyahu’s eligibility.

Israel is currently preparing for its third round of elections in less than a year, with Netanyahu’s Likud party struggling to decisively overtake Benny Gantz’s Blue and White party at the polls.

Netanyahu also faces challenges from within his party from Gideon Sa’ar, who seeks to paint Likud’s political challenges as a product of Netanyahu’s continued leadership despite indictment in three cases.