Netanyahu to high court: I will renounce all my ministerial positions

Netanyahu declared he would shed all his ministry posts by January 1, as he must do by law, given that he faces indictment.

By World Israel News Staff

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday notified Israel’s Supreme Court that he will leave his ministerial posts by January 1. He will remain prime minister.

According to Israeli law, a politician facing indictment cannot hold a ministerial position. The law does not apply to prime ministers.

However, the law has never been tested, The Times of Israel notes, as Netanyahu is the first prime minister to face charges while in office.

Netanyahu holds four portfolios in addition to the premiership. They include health, agriculture, welfare and diaspora affairs. Until recently, he also held defense.

The Movement for Quality in Government, an Israeli NGO, petitioned the High Court in November to deny Netanyahu the right to hold onto his position as prime minister as well.

“We call on the court to order the prime minister to resign immediately from all his duties, including as prime minister,” the NGO said.

Similarly, the opposition party, Blue and White, would like the law changed so that prime ministers will no longer be allowed to serve under indictment.

Blue and White leader Benny Gantz tried pushing a law in September in which “A prime minister who has been charged with a criminal offense for serious offenses will not be able to hold office.”

Netanyahu’s allies have tried, unsuccessfully, to pass a law to prevent a prime minister from being indicted.

The prime minister faces indictment in three cases. He is charged with fraud and breach of trust (one count in Israel) in three corruption cases (and bribery in one case). He is accused of trading legislative or regulatory favors in exchange for lavish gifts or favorable media coverage.

Netanyahu denies wrongdoing.