Netanyahu faces a double challenge in Israel

The hearing must allow the Attorney General to decide whether to indict the Prime Minister on suspicion of breach of trust, corruption and embezzlement in three different cases.

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Benjamin Netanyahu, in Jerusalem on September 25th. RONEN ZVULUN / JERUSALEM

Engaged in a struggle for political survival. Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu faces a double challenge with a hearing for " corruption " and talks stalled with rival Benny Gantz on a union government.

His lawyers arrived without him on Wednesday, October 2, at the Ministry of Justice for a hearing that should theoretically stretch over four days and allow Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit to decide whether he charges the outgoing Prime Minister. Justice suspects Mr. Netanyahu of breach of trust, bribery and embezzlement in three different cases, allegations that he describes as " witch hunt ".

"Bezeq", the most sensitive case

"Based on the survey data, and on the elements of which (we) have, we think there is strong evidence that will change the opinion prosecutor "said his lawyer, Ram Caspi, before the hearing. "Prime Minister's lawyers present evidence contradicting allegations of indictment"said Wednesday night the Netanyahu family spokesman.

The hearing on Wednesday and Thursday should focus on "the Bezeq case", the most sensitive currently for the prime minister. In this case, he is suspected of having granted government favors that could have brought back millions of dollars to the boss of the telecom company Bezeq, in exchange for favorable media coverage from one of the group's media, the Walla site.

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Moreover, Israel is plunged into political deadlock since the legislative elections of September 17, which have not designated a clear winner and threaten the reign of Mr. Netanyahu, in power for thirteen years, the last decade without stopping.

Canceled meetings

Negotiators of Netanyahu's Likud (right) and Benny Gantz's centrist party Kahol Lavan ("Blue-White") had planned to meet on Wednesday with the hope of forming a unity government. These talks were to be followed by a tête-à-tête between the two rivals. But, on Tuesday night, Bleu-Blanc canceled these meetings, saying that " preconditions " essential to the dialogue had not been met at this stage.

For Bleu-Blanc, Mr. Netanyahu can not run a government until his affairs with the law are settled, and he can only represent the Likud in the talks, not all the parties of the right and religious.

"Likud is stunned by Kahol Lavan's decision to shatter negotiations and cancel meetings"responded the Prime Minister's party, accusing members of Bleu-Blanc to refuse an alternation between MM. Netanyahu and Gantz in a government of union.

If Mr. Netanyahu fails to form the government, he will have to surrender his 'Mandate' to the President, who can entrust it to Mr. Gantz. But at this stage, there is no indication that the former general would succeed in rallying the Likud or co-opting his allies.

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