What has changed with Benjamin Netanyahu corruption trial?

Following a wave of protests over his administration’s proposal to reform the nation’s judiciary, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu corruption trial has resumed after a month-long break. This has brought attention back to the long-serving leader’s legal woes.

In three distinct scandals involving strong media moguls and rich allies, Netanyahu is accused of fraud, breach of trust, and receiving bribes. He contests his guilt.

Netanyahu disputes accusations that he is motivated to undermine the judiciary and modify it in order to gain access to a way out of his indictment.

Israelis have gone to the polls five times in less than four years as a result of a lengthy political crisis that has been sparked by the corruption allegations, with each vote essentially serving as a referendum on Netanyahu’s suitability to lead. Despite his legal issues, Netanyahu was reinstated as prime minister late last year after losing the presidency to a coalition of rivals in 2021. According to Israeli law, the prime minister is not required to resign while being tried.


More than 40 prosecution witnesses, including some of Netanyahu’s closest former confidants who turned against the prime, have testified during the trial, which started in May 2020. Witness reports have given insight into the three cases as well as shocking information about Netanyahu’s personality and his family’s history of surviving off the generosity of taxpayers and rich supporters.

He was referred to as a “control freak” when it comes to his public persona in the media by a former aide and important prosecution witness. Another eyewitness narrated how Netanyahu and his wife received pricey gifts, including pink champagne and cigars.

Israeli media revelations that police deployed sophisticated phone-hacking software on a key state witness shook the trial. A top police detective is now testifying in the trial, which has resumed following the Jewish holiday of Passover. In its cross-examination, the defence will probably try to find flaws in how the police conducted their investigation.


Netanyahu is accused of exchanging regulatory favours with media moguls for favourable press coverage and advancing the personal interests of a wealthy Hollywood producer in exchange for lavish gifts in three intricate cases, dubbed Case 1,000, Case 2,000, and Case 4,000.

Prosecutors are working their way through a list of more than 300 witnesses as they prepare to present their case to the judges during the three times weekly sessions. The witness list is anticipated to be slightly reduced because at least three witnesses on it have passed away as the trial has gone on.

In addition to the reputation of the Israeli legal system as being slow, some legal commentators claim that the defence has consciously intended to prolong the trial by continually requesting adjournments, extending cross examinations, and using other strategies. That was denied by a defence team insider, who attributed the prosecution’s use of so many witnesses to their actions. Due to his lack of authorization to speak to the media about the specifics of the trial, the individual talked on the condition of anonymity.


The prosecution intends to bring a number of prominent witnesses in the coming weeks, including the current opposition leader, Yair Lapid, the nation’s ambassador to the UN, Gilad Erdan, and a former Netanyahu chief of staff who has since become a state witness, Ari Harow. These declarations can make Netanyahu look even worse.

The defence will start to call its own witnesses after the prosecution exhausts its list, which is anticipated to happen within the next year or two, possibly including Netanyahu. Although there is no set deadline for completion, experts anticipate a decision in about two years.

According to observers, there is no evidence to support Netanyahu’s claim that the allegations against him are crumbling, and there is no way to predict how the three-judge panel will rule in the end. Netanyahu, who has held the role of prime minister of Israel for more than 15 years, would be required to resign if found guilty.


If the court finds Netanyahu guilty of some or all of the allegations, a sentencing procedure would be started to determine his penalty. Netanyahu and the state may decide to appeal the decision, depending on the outcome. By doing so, the case would be brought before the nation’s Supreme Court, further delaying a decision over Netanyahu’s fate.

According to media sources, it’s possible that the parties would look for a plea agreement before the current court even makes a decision. This alternative has already appeared and has done so again more recently. That would probably result in Netanyahu going into exile.

According to Amir Fuchs, a senior researcher at the Israel Democracy Institute, a think tank in Jerusalem, Netanyahu’s future is also significantly impacted by the divisive plan to reform the judiciary.

Due to intense public pressure, the idea has temporarily been put on hold. However, if it does go forward, Netanyahu could oust the current attorney general and replace him or her with someone who would be willing to drop the charges. He might also have an impact on the selection of the judges who would hear any further appeals. He may avoid punishment or have his trial completely dismissed if he did it.

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