update deskIsrael News

Netanyahu bribery case to proceed despite report of its collapse

The judges urged a compromise since the charge would be hard to prove.

Then-former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu arrives at Jerusalem District Court to hear testimony in his trial, March 23, 2022. Photo by Shalev Shalom/TPS.
Then-former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu arrives at Jerusalem District Court to hear testimony in his trial, March 23, 2022. Photo by Shalev Shalom/TPS.

The bribery prosecution against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will continue despite a report last week that the case is collapsing, Israel’s attorney general said.

In a closed-door meeting with lawyers from both sides, three Jerusalem District Court judges urged the prosecutor’s office to reach a plea deal with the prime minister since the bribery charges would be difficult to prove, Channel 13 reported on Thursday.

This comes before the defense has presented its arguments to the court.

Attorney General Gali Baharav-Miara shot down any talk of arbitration, however, saying that “no circumstance had changed” and that the prosecution would continue with the case, the most serious of three cases brought against Netanyahu in the trial.

Prominent criminal attorney Shashi Gaz on Sunday said that Baharav-Miara’s insistence on continuing the case was unnecessary given its flimsy foundations.

“I have said again and again—Case 4000 file [the “Bezeq case”] is a superfluous charge that should not have been filed, certainly not as a precedent against a prime minister, and no one can accuse me of being a Bibist,” Gaz told Galey Israel Radio, referring to Netanyahu by his nickname.

“The attorney general’s stubbornness is a huge waste of time. In legal parlance: the case collapsed. The court is speaking gently: It won’t say it in so many words.”

Tzfat Chief Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu on Friday also called for the case to continue, but for different reasons.

The rabbi called the Netanyahu trial “the most important trial in the State of Israel since its establishment” because it reveals “the rot” in the criminal justice system.

“If we talk about the end of democracy, this is the end of democracy. This is the end of the justice system. This is the end of the civilized state. Thank God that this trial is ongoing. Thank God that this corrupt rot is being cleared up. Who knows how many innocent citizens have suffered from this corruption for many years?” the rabbi asked.

“The end of this system is finally coming. The truth is finally being revealed. The discovery of the truth will bring this evil to an end. Therefore, this is the most important trial since the establishment of the State of Israel,” Eliyahu said.

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