Netanyahu told attendees in a speech at Jerusalem’s Orient Hotel that his parliamentary request does not mean he is attempting to evade justice, but rather that it’s simply his legal right as he tries to move past the “ridiculous libels.”
The sudden shift toward seeking immunity comes months after the Israeli official signaled that he would not be opting for such a measure, previously stating that the charges were politically motivated and would not hold up in court.
Since his change in tune, Netanyahu has been widely criticized by fellow Israeli lawmakers, including Yair Lapid, the co-chairman of the opposition Blue and White Party, who noted that Netanyahu’s immunity plea was like a “stone [being thrown] at the head of democracy.”
— יאיר לפיד Yair Lapid (@yairlapid) January 1, 2020
The official indictment against Netanyahu was announced by Israeli Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit in late November and saw Israel’s longest-serving prime minister charged with bribery, breach of trust and fraud in three separate cases. Bibi could face up to 10 years behind bars if he’s convicted on bribery and a maximum of three years if he’s found guilty for fraud and breach of trust.