Israeli Prime Minister’s Corruption Trial Begins
In July, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu became the longest-serving prime minister in Israeli history exceeding the longevity of legendary founding prime minister David Ben Gurion. On Sunday, Netanyahu becomes the first sitting prime minister to stand trial on charges of corruption. At 2 pm local time, a Jerusalem courtroom will be called to order and the prime minister will begin the most intense personal battle of his career – convincing three judges of his innocence. Outside the courtroom, throngs of supporters are expected to gather despite social distance requirements. Charges against the prime minister stem from allegations that he cut deals with media moguls, offering favors made possible by his position in return for receiving favorable media coverage. In one case, the proposed deal could have saved a leading telecommunications company millions of dollars through regulatory tweaks. Only last week, Netanyahu was sworn in to a fifth term in office, albeit a truncated term due to a power-sharing agreement cut with his political opponent, Benny Gantz.