Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is already in the midst of a political drama and now he’s facing a legal one too.
On Thursday, Israeli Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit announced Netanyahu is charged with bribery, fraud, and breach of trust. Bribery carries a maximum sentence of ten years while the other charges could bring an additional three years. The allegations stem from allegations Netanyahu accepted gifts in exchange for political favors and also provided regulatory relief to two major media outlets in exchange for favorable coverage.
Netanyahu says the indictments are politically motivated and contends it may be time to “investigate the investigators.”
All of this comes as Netanyahu serves as a caretaker prime minister in Israel. Parliamentary elections were held in Israel in September. Netanyahu and chief rival Benny Gantz finished in a virtual dead heat, but neither party was anywhere close to holding a majority in the Israeli parliament, the Knesset.
Netanyahu was given the first chance to form a coalition government with smaller parties but he failed. Gantz was then given the opportunity to forge a majority government and also failed. Right now, the Knesset is tasked with choosing a prime minister or another election will have to be scheduled.
Is the evidence against Netanyahu compelling or a political smear as he alleges? Do these charges change the political dynamics in Israel or are loyalties largely entrenched as they are in the U.S.? And would new elections actually lead to a decisive winner or just result in another stalemate?
We address these questions and more as Greg Corombos interviews American Foreign Policy Council Vice President Ilan Berman.