SAWT BEIRUT INTERNATIONAL

| 25 June 2021, Friday |

Netanyahu corruption trial to resume after election

The corruption trial of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is set to resume only after voters head to the polls to pass judgment on his leadership next month, according to a court decision on Monday.

Netanyahu was indicted in 2019 in long-running cases involving gifts from millionaire friends and for allegedly seeking regulatory favors for media tycoons in return for favorable coverage.

The charges against him have been a central issue during 3 elections in which no clear winner emerged. Israel will hold its 4th parliamentary election in 2 years on March 23.

This month he pleaded not guilty before a 3-judge panel in a heavily guarded Jerusalem District Court.

The court decided late on Monday that evidence in the trial would be heard as from April 5.

Opinion polls show the race too close to call, as right-wing rivals and center-left opponents seek to challenge Israel’s longest-serving leader. PM Netanyahu has been holding office continuously since 2009 after a first term from 1996 to 1999.