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Netanyahu gets breather as Israel faces political deadlock


Jerusalem: Israel's attorney general has charged Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with bribery, fraud and breach of trust in connection with three separate cases, but due to the current political deadlock it will probably take several months before the charges can be filed in court.

In the likely case that no Knesset member garners the support of 60 in the next three weeks that would allow him or her to take a shot at forming a government, thus sending the country to repeat elections, the beginning of Netanyahu's trial could be delayed until late April, or even until the end of May, The Times of Israel reported.

According to Israeli law, Netanyahu can likely legally continue serving as prime minister until he is replaced through an election or until he is convicted. No sitting premier in Israel has ever been indicted, and therefore it is unclear how the High Court of Justice would react to the many appeals that will demand he resign.

However, according to legal experts, he could be required to immediately relinquish the four ministerial posts he currently holds.

Netanyahu holds the agriculture, health, social affairs and diaspora affairs portfolios. According to legal precedent, a minister cannot continue to serve under indictment.

Until 2005, lawmakers enjoyed automatic immunity, but the law has since changed and now a parliamentarian who is about to be indicted will need to convince colleagues that he or she is deserving of procedural immunity.

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News Summary - Netanyahu gets breather as Israel faces political deadlock
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