January 16, 2019

Can Netanyahu Be Reelected If He’s Indicted?

“The answer to the question of whether the end of the Netanyahu era is at hand is not yet clear — but the picture is gaining clarity. The timetable is taking shape, the various criminal investigations are being consolidated, and law enforcement authorities are gearing for the final leg of one of the longest, most intense, highly publicized and hesitant criminal investigations in Israel’s history.

On Sept. 4, the prosecution related that it plans to combine all three cases — known as case numbers 1,000, 2000 and 4,000 — involving suspicions of corruption against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. It will make one comprehensive recommendation to the attorney general on whether or not to charge him.

Netanyahu reacted to the news with mixed feelings — on one hand, he feels a certain satisfaction with the prospects of further delays stemming from the need to consolidate all three cases; on the other, he has concern given the realization that a combined case could yield a harsh indictment. A charge of bribery would spell an end to the Netanyahu era. If the prosecution waffles and takes the charges down a notch to breach of trust, Netanyahu will claim that one does not unseat a prime minister over such a minor violation of the law. Will he find allies for such a stand among his coalition partners? That remains to be seen until after the next elections.”

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