1021 GMT April 10, 2021
The 71-year-old premier – who last month contested his fourth election in less than two years – arrived at the Jerusalem courthouse where he was met by supporters but also opponents who called him Israel’s “crime minister”, AFP reported.
Israel’s first premier to be indicted in office was ordered to appear in person at Jerusalem’s District Court for opening arguments in a case in which he is charged with bribery, fraud, and breach of trust.
As court proceedings got underway, President Reuven Rivlin began two days of talks to determine which party leader has the best chance of forming a stable cabinet following the March 23 election.
Israel remains mired in the worst political crisis in its 73-year history, with voters and the 120-member parliament bitterly split over whether Netanyahu deserves to extend his record tenure of 12 consecutive years.
Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud party finished first in the polls almost two weeks ago, winning 30 seats, but his path to a 61-seat absolute majority is precarious.
The anti-Netanyahu camp, however, lacks a clear leader, is ideologically divided and will also struggle to forge a majority coalition.