Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

8 February 2021
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pleaded not guilty to corruption charges as he appeared in a Jerusalem courtroom on Monday (8 February 2021). In the heavily-guarded Jerusalem District Court Netanyahu said that he confirmed the written written answer submitted in his name. The written answer submitted in his name argued he was not guilty of charges of bribery, breach of trust and fraud.

The prime minister was charged last year with fraud, breach of trust and accepting bribes in three separate cases. He was accused of accepting gifts from wealthy friends and offering to grant favours to powerful media moguls in exchange for positive coverage of him and his family.

He is the longest serving prime minister in Israel after holding power for twelve years.

Israelis have held weekly protests, in recent months, calling on him to resign over the corruption charges and criticising his government’s response to the coronavirus crisis. But he claimed that he lad led one of the world’s most successful vaccination campaigns. One third of the population of 9.3 million has been vaccinated and balance of the population will be vaccinated by March 2021. Three nation wide lockdowns have sent unemployment skyrocketing.

Knesset speaker and Netanyahu loyalist Yariv Levin said that it was unfair for the prosecution to present its case during the election campaign, even though the defense rebuttals are scheduled for after election day.

The National reported.