Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is seeking immunity from corruption charges against him. That would likely delay any trial until after the national election in March.
Netanyahu hopes the rightwing will win a majority of seats in the upcoming a national election that would shield him from prosecution.
In a nationally televised speech, Netanyahu pointed out the immunity would be temporary and again said he's the victim of unfair conspiracy.
“It's my intention to stand before the court to shatter all the fabricated accusations against me. Dear citizens of Israel, the immunity law is meant to protect elected officials from tailored lawsuits, from serving political cases whose aim is to harm the will of the people,” Netanyahu said.
Following Netanyahu’s address, his political opponent, leader of the Blue and White party, Benny Gantz, blasted Netanyahu.
“Israel is being incited to an extreme,” Gantz said in a televised response. “I never thought I would see a prime minister evade prosecution.”
Netanyahu won the Likud party primaries on December 26 with more than 70 percent of his party’s members supporting the prime minister over contender Gideon Sa’ar. It was a good showing but just the first hurdle.
Israelis are scheduled to go to national elections for the third time in less than a year on March 2. Neither Netanyahu nor Gantz have been able to pull together a majority in the Knesset. Many analysts are saying the results are not likely to be different this time around. But Israelis are hoping there will be a breakthrough.