After a report was published claiming that a bribery charge against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was collapsing, the Likud leader's political allies showed their support of him on Thursday evening, attacking the corruption trials against him.
"After years of media and legal persecution against the prime minister, a persecution that has turned an entire country, today the judges also say clearly that there is no chance of a conviction for bribery," said Education Minister Yoav Kisch in response to a Channel 12 report about a secret meeting about Case 4000 between the judges, State Attorney's Office representatives, and Netanyahu and Bezeq owner Shaul Elovitch's lawyers.
Plea bargain on the horizon
Opposition member and National Unity MK Gideon Sa'ar agreed with the alleged position of the court that the prosecution should seek a plea bargain for the "good of the country."
"During my tenure as justice minister, I avoided referring to the possibility of a plea agreement in the Netanyahu trial," Sa'ar wrote on Twitter. "This is out of respect for the independence of the State Attorney's Office in matters dedicated to its professional discretion. My position has long been that it is right, considering all the factors, to end Netanyahu's trial with a plea agreement. Now it is appropriate for the prosecution to listen to the court's messages and show readiness for such a negotiation. The public interest in the broadest sense is to end this long-standing saga with a plea agreement."
Diaspora Affairs Minister Amichai Chikli said that the country had endured seven years of elections, protest and political chaos for a flawed investigation into Netanyahu. Chikli said that the truth was revealed, and that there was no bribery or cheating by Netanyahu.
Likud MK Boaz Bismuth decried the millions of shekels wasted in the investigation and trial, and Environment Protection Minister Idit Silman demanded to know who would compensate the state of Israel for the elections and political turmoil.
"Who will compensate the Netanyahu family for years of unbearable persecution?" asked Silman.
Otzma Yehudit MK Almog Cohen called the Attorney-General's Office to open an investigation into former attorney-general Avichai Mandelblit and former state attorney Shai Nitzan for opening the cases against Netanyahu.
In Case 4000, Netanyahu stands accused of fraud, breach of trust, and bribery for allegedly promising regulation changes to benefit Elovitch in return for positive coverage on his former website Walla.
On Wednesday three of Netanyahu's advisers were announced to be indicted subject a hearing for the intimidation of Shlomo Filber, a former aid and witness in Case 4000.
Netanyahu also faces the legal challenges in Case 1000 and Case 2000. Case 2000 alleges that Netanyahu sought to weaken the newspaper Yisrael Hayom with legislation in return for positive coverage from publisher Arnon Mozes's Yediot Aharonot.
In Case 1000, Netanyahu is alleged to have received expensive gifts in return for his aid in the business interests of businessman Arnon Milchan. Milchan is set to give a remote testimony from a Brighton courthouse on Sunday.