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Israel’s Top Court Hears Further Arguments against Proposed Government

An expanded panel of 11 Supreme Court justices reconvened on Monday in Jerusalem to hear further petitions against the legitimacy of the country’s coming government. On Sunday, the justices were presented with arguments from civil watchdog groups saying that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu should be barred from establishing and leading a government while under indictment for alleged corruption. The arguments on Monday targeted parts of the coalition deal that would make that government possible, especially those concerning potential conflicts of interest between Netanyahu and the legal sphere. He is due to stand trial in three separate cases involving charges of fraud and breach of public trust, and one charge of bribery. The coalition deal that the right-wing Netanyahu struck with his centrist rival, Benny Gantz, envisions rotation between the two as prime minister, with Netanyahu serving for the first 18 months. Critics of the deal say it requires too many amendments to key governance laws, while supporters of Netanyahu argue that courts should not interfere with the work of legislators, who represent the will of the country’s voters.