Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s lawyers told the High Court of Justice on Sunday night that if it dares to interfere in his running or continuing in office that it will have negated Israeli democracy.The prime minister was responding to a petition by around 70 hi-tech officials requesting that the court decide his eligibility to form a government before the upcoming March 2 elections, in light of the bribery indictment he faces. In unusually strident and lecturing tones, Netanyahu told the High Court that it is the people, and not a court or legal official like Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit, who decides who their leaders are. Netanyahu threw down every gauntlet to the High Court, saying that even the fact that it was entertaining the petition itself was a violation of the fundamental separation of powers between the executive and judicial branches.Moving into the more specific legal arguments in the petition, Netanyahu said that the explicit language of the Basic Laws limit forcing a prime minister to resign to a stage at which he has been convicted of a crime carrying moral turpitude, and with all appeals exhausted.He rejected applying the Arye Deri judicial precedent of forcing all ministers to resign upon indictment, saying that this cannot apply to a prime minister, as courts can only create judge-made law where there is no explicit Basic Law governing the issue. Since the Basic Law sets a later moment for prime ministers to resign, he said that the Arye Deri judicial precedent is not applicable.His brief to the High Court also said that the charges against him were different from those against Deri because he was disputing whether the charges were even crimes.Whereas with Deri, the only question was whether he took bribes or not, but no one debated that the bribes in question would be crimes. Netanyahu noted that he is accused of “media bribery.”He said that media bribery does not exist in most democracies as a crime and that there was no basis to remove him when he is contesting the basic idea that his actions could be criminal, even if everything the prosecution says he did is true.The High Court is due to hear the issue on Tuesday.