Feb 18, 2020 - World

Israeli court sets date of Netanyahu corruption trial

Photo: Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's trial on charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust is set to begin on March 17 at the district court in Jerusalem, the court announced today.

Why it matters: Netanyahu's trial will begin two weeks after the March 2 elections, likely in the middle of efforts to form a new government.

The big picture: The announcement of the trial date is expected to affect the remaining period of the election campaign. The Blue and White Party led by Benny Gantz will likely use it in order to convince voters Netanyahu will not be able to serve as prime minister, as he will be totally consumed by his trial. 

  • Netanyahu said in an interview with Israel's Army Radio Tuesday that he doesn't think the trial will prevent him from performing his duties as prime minister, stressing that he has the ability to defend himself in court and run the country simultaneously. 

According to several polls from recent days, neither Netanyahu nor Gantz will win enough seats in the next Knesset to form a right-wing or a center-left coalition.

  • The fact that the trial will begin during new coalition negotiations is expected to remove the possibility of a unity government led by Netanyahu.
  • This will make the formation of a new government even more difficult, raising the possibility of further political deadlock and an unprecedented fourth round of elections.

Go deeper

Netanyahu's party on course to win Israel's election: exit polls

Netanyahu campaigns in Tel Aviv, Feb. 29. Photo: Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud Party is projected to win the most seats in Israel's election, according to exit polls. All three updated polls show his right-wing bloc with 59 seats, two short of a majority.

Why it matters: The exit polls are not official results, but they project a strong performance from Netanyahu in Israel's third elections in 10 months despite a looming corruption trial. Both Netanyahu and Benny Gantz, his centrist rival, failed to form coalition governments following elections in April and September.

Go deeperArrowMar 2, 2020 - World

Israeli election: Netanyahu has momentum despite corruption case

Netanyahu campaigns with a friend behind him. Photo: Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu enters Israel's third elections in 10 months with momentum — and with his corruption trial looming just two weeks after the vote.

Why it matters: Israeli politics have been deadlocked for nearly a year as Netanyahu and his centrist rival, Benny Gantz, grapple for power. Monday's vote could provide the breakthrough, or set Israel on course for yet another election.

Go deeperArrowFeb 27, 2020 - World

Israel’s opposition uniting in bid to bring down Netanyahu

Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Israel's election committee has published the results of Monday's election showing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's right-wing bloc with 58 seats — three short of the parliamentary majority needed to form a government.

Why it matters: Worse still for Netanyahu, particularly in the wake of what looked like a remarkable victory, a majority might now be uniting behind an effort to effectively end his political career. His corruption trial, meanwhile, is set to begin in just 12 days.

Go deeperArrowMar 5, 2020 - World