In the midst of war against Hamas, Netanyahu sees his corruption trial resume

In the midst of the war against Hamas, the corruption trial of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu resumed Monday in Jerusalem, approximately two months after its suspension due to the bloody attack perpetrated by the Palestinian Islamist movement on October 7.

Benjamin Netanyahu, 74, is charged with corruption, fraud and breach of trust in three cases, charges he denies.

In the case re-examined before the Jerusalem court, Mr. Netanyahu is suspected of having tried to secure favorable coverage from the Walla news site in return for government favors which could have brought in hundreds of millions dollars to Shaul Elovitch, who was boss of both the main Israeli telecommunications group, Bezek, and Walla.

In another case, he is suspected of having received large quantities of gifts from wealthy personalities, worth around 700,000 shekels (around 255,000 Canadian dollars). These bribes took the form of cigars, bottles of champagne and jewelry, distributed between 2007 and 2016.

Among his alleged benefactors, Israeli Hollywood mogul Arnon Milchan, producer of Brazil, JFK, Pretty Woman And Natural Born Killersnotably.

Mr. Netanyahu is suspected of having in return promoted a tax provision that could have brought in millions of dollars for Mr. Milchan. The Ministry of Finance, however, vetoed it.

” Witch hunt “

The Prime Minister claims to have only accepted gifts from friends, without having requested them, and considers himself the victim of a witch hunt. He will not be called to the stand immediately, but could appear to testify in a few months, according to the Israeli press.

His trial, which opened in 2020, is a first in Israel for a sitting prime minister.

Head of the Israeli government from 1996 to 1999 then from 2009 to 2021, Benjamin Netanyahu has held the position again since the 2022 elections, after forming a coalition with ultra-Orthodox and far-right parties.

But the Hamas attack on Israeli territory on October 7, which left 1,200 dead, the majority of them civilians, according to the authorities, then the entry into war against Hamas reshuffled the political cards in Israel.

Criticized by his opposition for failing to prevent the Hamas attack, the deadliest since the creation of Israel 75 years ago, Mr. Netanyahu was forced to form an emergency government and a war cabinet with his rival, Benny Gantz, former Minister of Defense.

The two men swore to “annihilate” Hamas and have led a devastating campaign of strikes on the Gaza Strip since October 7, which has left nearly 15,900 dead and 42,000 injured, according to the Ministry of Defense. Health of Hamas.

Political leaders close to the Prime Minister criticized the resumption, in the midst of war, of the hearings. Which will in any case be reduced due to the mobilization of reservists among the witnesses and lawyers.

” A war ? Hostages ? No no. The most important thing now is to relaunch the Netanyahu trial,” wrote David Amsalem, Minister of Regional Cooperation, ironically on the X network.

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