Corruption trial of Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu postponed by two months

The trial of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, originally scheduled to begin today, has been postponed to May 24 amid

netanyahu trial postponed

Photo: Flash90

The trial of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, originally scheduled to begin today, has been postponed to May 24 amid a government order to suspend non-urgent court activities to stop the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Netanyahu faces charges of fraud, breach of trust and bribery. His trial was set to come at the end of a contentious election season, in which Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud and its allies were left three seats short of the 61 needed for a majority in Israel’s parliament.

The global chaos induced by the COVID-19 pandemic comes at an inopportune time for the embattled premier, who had called for an emergency unity government. That call may have backfired, with 61 lawmakers endorsing Netanyahu’s rival Benny Gantz—leader of the centrist Blue and White party—as prime minister-designate on Sunday.

The distraction caused by the pandemic may yet play into Netanyahu’s hands by diverting media attention from his alleged crimes and opening a door to attack Gantz politically if he fumbles a response.

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