Netanyahu: This Case Is 'Fabricated'

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu goes on trial
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted May 24, 2020 2:45 PM CDT
Israel Has Its Own 'Witchhunt'
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, wearing a face mask in line with public health restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic, stands inside the court room as his corruption trial opens at the Jerusalem District Court, Sunday, May 24, 2020.   (Ronen Zvulun/ Pool Photo via AP)

(Newser) – Israel's prime minister arrived in a Jerusalem court Sunday and denounced the corruption case against him—along with officials, journalists, and police he claims fabricated the evidence, the Times of Israel reports. "Elements in the police and State Attorney’s Office banded together with left-wing journalists ... to fabricate baseless cases against me," said Benjamin Netanyahu, flanked by aides. "The goal is to oust a strong right-wing prime minister and to banish the right-wing camp from leadership of the country for many years." The embattled politician also slammed the nation's justice system for allowing a "fabricated and ludicrous" case to make it to trial, Al Jazeera reports.

Hundreds of protesters gathered outside to support Netanyahu as he entered the hour-long hearing, where he spoke only to confirm his name. In three separate allegations, the 70-year-old is facing one count of bribery and three of fraud and breach of trust, per CNN, but government experts are divided over whether the trial is good for Israel. Some say the accusations will come down to conflicts of interest that pale in comparison to what Netanyahu might do to gain his freedom: "If, God forbid, we will have a war, is it going to be because there is a security threat, or because this is going to be a wag-the-dog kind of moment that you want to disrupt public opinion?" a legal scholar asks the New York Times. (Read more Israel stories.)

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