Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Sunday night vowed not to enter into a plea bargain with the state for any of the three criminal cases that have been brought against him. His comments came in a rare non-election-related interview after he became the first sitting Israeli leader to go on trial, the first session being held earlier in the day. Netanyahu has been charged with fraud and breach of trust in all three cases. In one, he has also been charged with bribery, a far more serious crime. During the interview, the prime minister doubled down on statements he made ahead of his appearance in court, describing the allegations against him as tantamount to an attempted coup. “Elements in the police and State Attorney’s Office banded together with left-wing journalists… to fabricate baseless cases against me,” he claimed. “The goal is to oust a strong right-wing prime minister and to banish the right-wing camp from leadership of the country for many years.” Netanyahu vowed to continue fighting the charges while leading the country for the next 18 months as part of a rotation deal with his centrist rival, Benny Gantz, who will begin serving as prime minister starting in November of 2021.
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