Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been indicted on charges of bribery, fraud, and breach of trust. Netanyahu has faced multiple allegations that he accepted gifts from wealthy business leaders and offered to trade favors in exchange for positive coverage from a popular newspaper. Netanyahu has denied the charges, saying they are the result of a partisan witch-hunt by his opponents.
The indictments come at a tough time for Netanyahu, who failed to form a government last month. He was hoping to pass a law that would have prevented Israeli Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit from indicting him. He could ask the Israeli Parliament for immunity, but that seems unlikely because the legislative body is currently engaged in a political deadlock. On Wednesday (November 20), Netanyahu's political rival, Benny Gantz, announced that he also failed to form a new government.
Any member of Parliament can become the next prime minister if they can gather the required 61 signatures to have a majority in the Knesset. If nobody can collect enough signatures within 21 days, the Israelis will head back to the polls for the third time this year.
Despite being under indictment, Netanyahu can still run for prime minister, though it would mark the first time in Israel's history that a candidate is under indictment.
If convicted, Netanyahu faces up to ten years in prison for the bribery charges and a maximum of three years in jail for fraud and breach of trust charges.
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