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Most Israelis reject granting immunity to Netanyahu

Israelis demonstrate against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the wake of police recommendations to indict corruption inTel Aviv on 16 February 2018 [JACK GUEZ/AFP via Getty Images]
Israelis demonstrate against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Tel Aviv on 16 February 2018 [JACK GUEZ/AFP via Getty Images]

The majority of Israelis oppose granting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu immunity over the corruption charges against him, Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported yesterday.

According to the poll conducted by Israel’s Channel 12 News, 51 per cent of the 500 respondents questioned said they oppose granting immunity to Netanyahu, 33 per cent supported it and 16 per cent said they do not know.

Among right-wing voters, 35 per cent oppose granting immunity and 47 per cent support it.

Last night, Israel’s Channel 13 reported that Netanyahu had decided to ask the Knesset to grant him immunity from prosecution, the Times of Israel reported.

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He informed Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein in writing of his intention. In the letter, Netanyahu said he would be willing to face criminal prosecution, but only after he leaves office.

Last month Netanyahu became the first sitting prime minister to be indicted while in office when he was charged with bribery, fraud and breach of trust in three different cases.

In the first case known as 1000, which involves Israeli Hollywood producer Arnon Milchan, who was allegedly asked to purchase luxury items for Netanyahu and his wife, the prime minister was charged with a breach of public trust and fraud.

In the second case, 2000, which relates to a deal for favourable media coverage with Arnon Mozes, publisher of prominent Hebrew-language daily, Yedioth Ahronoth, Netanyahu was charged with breach of public trust and fraud.

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In the third case, 4000, Netanyahu was charged with bribery for awarding favours to Israel’s Bezeq Telecom Company in return for favourable coverage on the company’s news website.

In response, Netanyahu said: “This evening we are witnesses to an attempted government coup against the prime minister, using false allegations and stained investigations.”

“I respect the legal establishment in Israel, but you need to be blind to ignore that something wrong is happening against me from the police, prosecution,” he added.

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