Israeli Elections: Netanyahu Seeks Immunity to Break free from Indictment

Israeli elections

In an unprecedented move, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has long rejected the corruption allegations against him, has requested the Israeli parliament to delay his trial for a few months.

Netanyahu’s plea to seek immunity, ahead of the Israeli elections has mounted huge pressure on his political rivals, who are now making efforts to revive the dormant Knesset House Committee to cease all the chances that could set him free from the corruption allegations.

As of now, Israel has no Parliamentary House Committee, due to the failed outcome of September elections. Furthermore, court proceedings against the convict cannot begin until immunity request is granted or at least settled.

Avigdor Liberman’s political party, Yisrael Beytenu with identical motives of setting up Netanyahu to face trial on bribery, fraud and breach of trust charges, supported the Knesset lawmakers’ bid for House resurrection, on Wednesday.  

Moreover, the Blue and White party, that sits in opposition of Netanyahu’s Likud Party, has pledged to form the House Committee before the third Israeli elections, fixing all the doubts of the voters. But, could they really do that? The talks in this matter would more likely take place in the Israeli parliament, next week.

2019 has been a dramatic year in the political history of Israel, with continued deadlocks in the country. As a result, Israel is now re-conducting general elections in March to designate its leader. The wave of power struggle has further increased the relevance of Israeli elections, with leaders condemning their rivals, and portraying themselves as irreplaceable.

Netanyahu, despite being the longest-serving Prime Minister in Israeli history, appears to have lost his reputation, after being indicted as a corrupt leader in November. By appealing immunity from corruption charges, Netanyahu seeks to win a majority coalition in his third shot in Israeli elections.

Considering Netanyahu’s past actions, a major portion of Israeli population stands in opposition of his immunity request, demanding for his trial. The inconsistency in Israelis’ support/oppose has led to dilemmatic arguments, with no political solution in hand.

Meanwhile, Netanyahu is sticking to his words, portraying himself as a victim of an unfair conspiracy, lashing out at prosecutors, media and his political enemies.

Despite the hardships, Netanyahu recently, succeeded in winning the primary elections for leadership of his party, beating his challenger Gideon Saar with 44 percent votes.

In addition, he has claimed credit for a series of economic and security achievements, a move his political rivals claim to appear as if he was campaigning his leadership.

“In order to continue to lead Israel to great achievements, I intend to approach the speaker of the Knesset in accordance with chapter 4C of the law, in order to fulfil my right, my duty and my mission to continue to serve you for the future of Israel,” Netanyahu said.   

The day Netanyahu requested immunity, was termed as a “sad day” by the opposition leader and former Military Chief Benny Gantz.

“I never imagined that we would see the day that the prime minister of Israel would avoid standing before the law and the justice system,” Gantz said. “Today it’s clear what we’re fighting for. Netanyahu knows he’s guilty.”

Prior to the Israeli elections, Netanyahu’s vow to battle the allegations, which he has long dismissed as an “attempted coup” from the prime minister’s office, appears to be difficult. Though he plans to go to court to fight what he said were fabricated accusations, his chances of winning as a majority have been lowered with voters’ disunion.

However, if he succeeds in gathering a 61-seat majority in favor of immunity, he could avoid prosecution. For now, all eyes are on forming the House Committee to prevent Netanyahu from getting immunity.

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