Netanyahu to Request Immunity

December 31, 2019
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks before a right wing parties meeting on November 20, 2019 in Jerusalem, Israel. Israel may face third election after Benny Gantz and Benjamin Netanyahu struggle to form coalition. (Photo by Amir Levy/Getty Images)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will send an official request to the Knesset for immunity from prosecution in three cases, according to the Jerusalem Post and Channel 13.

Netanyahu reportedly will argue that such immunity is necessary while he is in office because the cases will require members of the Knesset to appear as witnesses and that Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit’s decision to announce the indictments against him before the March elections was a political decision.

According to Channel 13, Knesset legal adviser Eyal Yinon is expected to conclude that the Knesset cannot form a temporary committee to consider the matter until a new government is formed. Israel’s next elections are scheduled to occur in March.

Mandelblit has said that he intends to stay out of the matter unless the Knesset votes to give Netanyahu immunity. The Israeli Supreme Court also has hinted that it doesn’t want to get involved unless Netanyahu is granted immunity.

A Channel 2 survey published on Dec. 29 that 51% of Israelis oppose granting Netanyahu immunity, while 33% support it.

Netanyahu was indicted on charges of corruption regarding allegations that the prime minister engaged in a quid pro quo with wealthy donors for gifts, and media outlets for more favorable coverage.

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