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Israel court postpones Netanyahu trial date due to covid restrictions

People protest against the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, demanding his resignation over corruption cases and his failure to combat the new type of coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic in West Jerusalem on 12 December 2020. [Mostafa Alkharouf - Anadolu Agency]
People protest against the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, demanding his resignation over corruption cases in Jerusalem on 12 December 2020 [Mostafa Alkharouf/Anadolu Agency]

An Israeli court has today postponed the hearing into Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's corruption trial indefinitely, citing coronavirus lockdown restrictions.

The Jerusalem District Court announced that the next hearing, set for Wednesday, has been postponed indefinitely. New lockdown measures come into effect in Israel today and are expected to be in place for two weeks, leaving courts partially closed.

In a statement the court ruled that "taking into consideration the large amount of participants in the hearing and the lockdown [in place], the hearing set for January 13, 2021 is hereby canceled."

"A new date will be announced separately."

This comes just days after the court denied Netanyahu's lawyers their request to delay the prime minister's trial for bribery, fraud and breach of trust.

Netanyahu is entangled in four political scandals: Case 1000 which involves allegations that the PM and his wife accepted illegal gifts from businessmen; Case 2000 which accuses Netanyahu of attempting to buy favourable newspaper coverage; Case 3000, also known as the "submarine scandal" would have seen Israel purchase naval vessels and submarines from a German firm with millions of shekels allegedly "skimmed" off the top of the deals for personal profit; and Case 4000, in which a close associate of Netanyahu is suspected of providing confidential information to Israel's largest telecoms company.

READ: Israel right-wing parties unite to sideline Netanyahu's Likud

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