Netanyahu indictment officially delivered to Israel’s parliament

Netanyahu is charged with fraud and breach of trust (under Israeli law “fraud and breach of trust” is one count) and one charge of bribery.

By Yair Altman and Ariel Kahana, JNS via Israel Hayom

Attorney General Avichai Mandelbilt officially delivered Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s indictment to Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein on Monday.

The document specifies which court Netanyahu must report to, and includes a list of witnesses the prosecution plans to call to the stand.

In all three cases in which he is a suspect — cases 1,000, 2,000 and 4,000 — Netanyahu is charged with fraud and breach of trust (under Israeli law “fraud and breach of trust” is one count). In Case 4,000, Netanyahu also faces a bribery charge.

In Case 1,000, Netanyahu is accused of receiving gifts worth over $200,000 from friends over an extended period, while Case 2,000 and Case 4,000 both involve alleged attempts by Netanyahu to secure positive media coverage in exchange for political favors.

In Case 4,000 — considered the most serious of the three — Netanyahu is accused of expediting a regulatory change toward the merger of Israel’s two largest telecommunications companies, Bezeq and YES, in exchange for positive coverage on the Walla! news portal.

The official submission of the indictment, some two weeks after it was unveiled, triggered a d30-day period during which Netanyahu can seek immunity by making a formal request to the Knesset’s House Committee.

Under Israeli law, the committee can grant such a request if convinced that the indictment would be of great detriment to the state or if there are other unique circumstances.

It is unclear whether the committee will be able to vote on any such request, however, since the Knesset has yet to formally appoint committee members. There is also the question of whether the Knesset is allowed to deliberate on such matters during a transition period between two governments.

In a letter enclosed with the indictment, Mandlebilt wrote that the document adhered to the Knesset Immunity Law, despite earlier objections raised by Netanyahu’s legal team.

“Today, December 2, 2019, will mark the beginning of the 30 days [Netanyahu] may request from the Knesset that the state will grant him immunity,” wrote Mandelblit.

This article first appeared in Israel Hayom.