Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu begins his long awaited trial on Sunday. Following years of probes, High Court rulings and a covid-induced delay, Netanyahu will now be the first sitting prime minister to go to trial for corruption.
The Prime Minister’s son, Yair, took to Twitter to blast Israel’s court system who many on the right see as corrupt. In the tweet, Netanyahu quoted a passage from Ecclesiastes:
And, indeed, I have observed under the sun: Alongside justice there is wickedness, Alongside righteousness there is wickedness. (Ecclesiastes 3:16)
קהלת ג טז pic.twitter.com/dA8af7UVLB
— Yair Netanyahu 🇮🇱 (@YairNetanyahu) May 24, 2020
The quote appears to come from a place of frustration as much of the investigation against the Prime Minister was marred with illegal proceedings that were overlooked by the Attorney General. Among the more egregious criminal activity included leaking the contents of the investigations against the Prime Minister to the media.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s lawyers accused the State Prosecutor’s Office on Tuesday of ulterior motives in its opposition to their request that their client be excused from the opening session of his trial.
Netanyahu’s trial on charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust was initially scheduled to begin on March 17, but was postponed when the courts were closed at the outset of the coronavirus crisis. It is now slated to begin on May 24.
Attorneys Amit Haddad and Micha Fetman argued that the need for the prime minister’s presence at the reading of his criminal charges is a mere “technicality,” according to Israeli media reports.
Prosecutor Judith Tirosh of the Israel Securities Authority argued that Netanyahu’s presence at the arraignment hearing was crucial as it would increase the public’s faith in the proceedings and uphold the principle of equality before the law for criminal defendants. She rejected the claims that the opening hearing is a “mere technicality” and that the presence of Netanyahu’s attorneys would suffice.
“This is the opening of the defendant’s trial and carries a legal significance that is written into law requiring the accused to be present at the reading of charges, regardless of the presence of counsel,” she said.
Haddad said the prosecutor’s stance was “serving the campaign of presenting a picture of Prime Minister Netanyahu on the defendants’ bench as a continuation of the ‘anyone-but-Bibi’ campaign.”
Haddad and Fetman filed a motion with the Jerusalem District Court on Tuesday night to resolve the dispute.
JNS contributed to this report