Israel: PM Netanyahu’s corruption trial resumes

Image: Abir Sultan via REUTERS

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is facing charges of fraud, breach of trust and bribery. He denies any wrongdoing.

The corruption trial against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu resumed in Jerusalem on Monday after an emergency wartime suspension of proceedings expired last week.

In the trial, which has been ongoing for over three years, Netanyahu stands accused of alleged fraud, breach of trust and accepting bribes in three separate cases involving powerful media moguls and wealthy associates.

What exactly is Netanyahu accused of?

In one case, it is alleged that the prime minister offered perks to Israeli telecom giant Bezeq during his time as communications minister in return for favorable reporting.

In another, Netanyahu is accused of accepting luxury gifts worth around 700,000 shekels ($189,000; €174,000) between 2007 and 2016 — including jewelry, cigars and pink champagne — in return for his support of the extension of a law which would have saved Israeli Hollywood producer Arnon Milchan millions in tax payments.

Bribery charges in Israel carry a jail sentence of up to 10 years and/or a fine. Fraud and breach of trust carry prison sentences of up to three years.

Netanyahu has always denied all the accusations and has spoken of a “witch hunt,” insisting that he only ever accepted gifts from friends and never solicitied bribes.

What happens next?

According to Israeli media, the 74-year-old isn’t expected to be called to the stand in the immediate term, but could be summoned in the coming months.

The trial, which opened in 2020, is a first for a sitting Israeli prime minister.

Like all non-urgent trials in the Israeli justice system, Netanyahu’s trial was temporarily put on hold following the deadly raids into Israeli territory by Hamas terrorists on October 7. Israel says more than 1,200 Israelis were killed.

The attacks prompted Netanyahu to form an emergency war cabinet which in turn ordered deadly retaliatory strikes on the Gaza Strip. According to authorities in Hamas-ruled Gaza, more than 15,500 Palestinians have been killed.


Courtesy of DW