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Keep Up with Netanyahu’s Corruption Trial: A Comprehensive Guide

by Joshua Brown
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The trial of Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has started back up after a month-long break. This comes on the heels of protests against his government’s plans to change the laws in their country.

Netanyahu is accused of cheating, breaking trust and taking bribes from people who are wealthy or have lots of power. He denies these accusations completely and says he didn’t do anything wrong.

Critics say that Netanyahu is trying to make the courts weaker and change the legal process so that he can get away from being put on trial. He denies this and says it’s not true.

The corruption charges have caused a lot of political trouble in Israel. This has made Israelis so concerned that they voted five times in four years to decide if Prime Minister Netanyahu should still lead the country while being accused of those charges. In 2021, he lost power but came back again last year regardless of the legal problems he was facing. According to Israeli law, the prime minister does not need to resign for being on trial. Below is an overview about what’s going on with this trial:

WHAT’S HAPPENING NOW?

In May 2020, a trial started that featured more than 40 witnesses. It was about the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu. His former best friends even testified against him. From their stories, we learned more information about the three cases and how his family liked to take advantage of taxpayers and other generous people in their lives. Some of these witnesses said he was very picky when it came to his public image. Others described the many luxurious gifts given to him by other people which included expensive champagne and cigars.

The trial was thrown into chaos when news reports came out that police had used special spyware to monitor a witness. After the Passover holiday, an officer who was involved in the investigation is giving evidence. The defense lawyers will try to pick apart how the cops handled everything.

WHAT IS MAKING THE TRIAL LAST SO LONG?

Prime Minister Netanyahu is in trouble. He could have done something wrong in three cases – named Case 1,000, Case 2,000 and Case 4,000. People think that he got favors from rich people in the media and gave a movie producer special help to get money in return.

The judges in the court hearings that take place three days a week are listening to evidence from over 300 witnesses. Sadly, some of them have died during the trial, so there won’t be as many witnesses by the end.

People say that the defense has been taking a long time to finish this trial, asking for repeated delays and long cross-examinations. But somebody close to the defense team said that it was actually the prosecution’s fault for calling so many witnesses. This person can’t tell anyone about what’s going on in the trial because they’re not allowed to talk about it with people from the media.

In the following weeks, important people like Yair Lapid (the opposition leader), Ambassador Gilad Erdan (United Nations) and Ari Harow (former Netanyahu chief of staff) will give their testimonies, which may make Prime Minister Netanyahu very upset.

The prosecution will finish giving its evidence soon. After that, the defense team can choose people to be witnesses—possibly even the Prime Minister! It’ll probably take about two more years for a judge to make a decision.

Prime Minister Netanyahu says the accusations against him are not true, but some people think that’s not true and don’t know how the judges will decide in the end. If he is found guilty of the accusations, it means Prime Minister Netanyahu (who has been in charge for over 15 years) would need to leave his job.

The court might decide if Netanyahu is guilty of any or all of the charges. If he is convicted, then a decision about his punishment must be made. Both Netanyahu and the state have the option to disagree with the court’s ruling by taking it to the Supreme Court which means that we may not find out what will happen to him for a while.

Before the court reaches their verdict, it is possible that both sides will agree on a deal to avoid court conflicts. An option like this has happened in the past and recently as well. This might cause Netanyahu (a politician) to leave his political activities.

A plan which could change the way judges are appointed may have a big influence on Netanyahu’s fate, according to a researcher from Israel Democracy Institute (a group who do research).

The plans have been stopped for a while because of lots of angry people. But if it starts again, Netanyahu could choose a new attorney general who will help make the charges against him go away. He might also be able to pick the judges that would hear an appeal about this case. If this happens he wouldn’t be convicted or he could have his trial canceled completely.

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