On November 20, Benjamin Netanyahu’s
rival for the premiership, Benny Gantz, said he had been unable to form a
governing coalition with a majority in parliament. He had been given the
opportunity to try after Benjamin Netanyahu had earlier failed to do so.
On November 21, President Reuven Rivlin
asked lawmakers to agree on a candidate for prime minister within 21 days and
avoid an unprecedented third election in a year.
After the charges were announced,
Benny Gantz tweeted his support for the attorney general and law enforcement
agencies, and wrote it was “a very sad day” for Israel.
In February, Attorney General Avichai
Mandelblit said that he intended to indict Benjamin Netanyahu in connection
with three cases – known as Case 1,000, Case 2,000 and Case 4,000 – pending
final hearings that eventually took place in October.
It is unclear what this means for the prime minister’s future.
Benjamin Netanyahu is presumed innocent unless proven otherwise, and there
is currently no legal barrier to him staying in office as prime minister.
It could take many months before the cases are brought before a district court. And even if convicted, Benjamin Netanyahu would not be required to step down until the appeals process was exhausted – something that could take years.
Israel’s ex-PM Ehud Olmert has been sentenced to 18 months in jail for bribery.
Ehud Olmert, 70, had been sentenced to six years by a lower court in 2014, but this was reduced by the Supreme Court.
He was convicted over a real estate deal that took place while he served as mayor of Jerusalem, prior to becoming prime minister in 2006.
Ehud Olmert, who stepped down in 2009, will become the first former Israeli head of government to go to prison.
He is due to begin his sentence on February 15.
The Supreme Court acquitted Ehud Olmert of receiving a 500,000-shekel ($130,000) bribe from the developers of Holyland, a controversial block of flats in Jerusalem, after he appealed against the March 2014 conviction.
A separate conviction of illicitly taking a 60,000-shekel payment for another project was upheld.
Ehud Olmert said following the ruling: “A heavy weight was lifted from my chest today, when the Supreme Court exonerated me of the main charge, of Holyland.
“No bribe was ever offered to me and I never accepted one.”
Several other government officials and businesspeople were convicted alongside Ehud Olmert in 2014.
The judge at the time said he was guilty of “moral turpitude”.
In a separate case, Ehud Olmert was sentenced earlier this year to eight months in prison for fraud and breach of trust for accepting illegal payments from an American businessman.
The Supreme Court is yet to rule on Ehud Olmert’s appeal in that case.
Former Israeli PM Ehud Olmert has been sentenced to eight months in jail for fraud and breach of trust, a Jerusalem court rules.
Ehud Olmert was convicted at a retrial in March of accepting illegal payments from an American businessman while he served as mayor of Jerusalem and trade minister.
In 2014, Ehud Olmert was sentenced to six years in prison for accepting bribes.
Ehud Olmert has denied any wrongdoing and will remain free until his appeals against both convictions are heard.
A Supreme Court decision on the first appeal is expected in the next couple of months.
If he is unsuccessful, Ehud Olmert will become the first former head of government in Israel to be jailed.
Ehud Olmert served as Israel’s prime minister from 2006 to 2009.
He was forced to resign amid a flurry corruption allegations, which ended his political career and disrupted the peace process with the Palestinians.
In 2012, Ehud Olmert was acquitted of fraud, concealing fraudulent earnings and breach of trust in connection with donations received from a New York-based financier, Morris Talansky between 1997 and 2005.
However, a retrial was ordered after a former aide, Shula Zaken, accepted a plea bargain and testified against Ehud Olmert. Shula Zaken gave prosecutors diary entries and tape recordings of conversations in which Ehud Olmert referred to receiving the money.
Ehud Olmert, 69, was found guilty of fraud and breach of trust in March and on May 25 was sentenced to eight months in jail. He was also given a suspended sentence of an additional eight months and fined 100,000 shekels ($25,000).
The Jerusalem District Court said the sentence recognized Ehud Olmert’s contributions to Israeli society, but noted that “a black flag hovers over his conduct”.
Ehud Olmert’s lawyer Eyal Rozovsky said they were “very disappointed” by the sentence.
The former prime minister has always insisted that he is innocent and has described the allegations against him as “a brutal, ruthless witch-hunt”.
He is also appealing against the six-year sentence he was given in May 2014 in connection with a real estate deal at took place when he was mayor of Jerusalem in the 1990s.
Ehud Olmert was convicted of accepting bribes in return for speeding up a controversial residential development, known as Holyland, in Jerusalem.
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