Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is set to face the continuation of his long-running trial on corruption charges, with proceedings resuming on Monday, December 4, despite the conflict in Gaza.
Allegations filed against Israeli Prime Minister
The trial, taking place in a Jerusalem court, will look into various corruption allegations filed against Netanyahu in 2019, known as Case 1000, 2000, and 4000.
The charges include fraud, bribery, and breach of trust.
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Netanyahu and his wife Sara, are accused in Case 1000 of accepting gifts, including champagne and cigars, from Hollywood producer Arnon Milchan and businessman James Packer in exchange for political favours.
According to prosecutors, between 2007 and 2016 Netanyahu allegedly received gifts valued at 700,000 shekels ($195,000), including boxes of cigars, bottles of champagne and jewellery, in exchange for financial or personal favours.
Israel’s first sitting prime minister
Netanyahu, who is Israel’s first sitting prime minister to stand trial, denies any wrongdoing, saying gifts were only accepted from friends and without him having asked for them.
He says the charges are part of a politically motivated ‘witch-hunt’ orchestrated by rivals and the media.
The trial, initially launched in May 2020, has faced repeated delays, including disputes between the defence and prosecution, as well as disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The emergency pause was imposed by the country’s justice minister in response to the conflict initiated by Hamas on October 7.
The resumption of the trial comes amid controversy surrounding Netanyahu’s proposed overhaul of the judicial system.
Critics argue that the changes would politicise the judiciary, compromise its independence, foster corruption, and negatively impact Israel’s economy.
The prime minister is also concurrently accused of using legislative measures to sidestep his legal challenges, further intensifying the political turmoil.