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    Israeli Lawmakers Mull Switch to Presidential System to Save Netanyahu - Report

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    It remains unclear exactly how the ground-breaking political move would help to shelter the prime minister from criminal prosecution.

    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's allies in the Knesset are reportedly considering modifying the political system of the nation to that of a presidential one as a means of saving the PM from criminal prosecution, Channel 13 news reported Friday.

    According to the report, a fundamental change of the political system would ease legislation that will prevent legal action against Netanyahu, who is currently facing indictment on three corruption charges.

    However, the report does not state how exactly switching to presidential governance would ease the lawmaking process or who raised this option in the Knesset.

    The Times Of Israel report notes, however, that there was speculation that, following his victory in the parliamentary election this week, Netanyahu may condition his reentry into the new government on the adoption of a so-called French Law, legislation that would shelter him from criminal prosecution for as long as he remains the prime minister.

    "Netanyahu has publicly given mixed signals about whether he will seek such legislation," the report says.

    On Wednesday, Likud lawmaker Miki Zohar argued that Israeli prosecutors should drop charges against the prime minister, suggesting that indicting the newly-elected PM would amount to subverting the will of the people.

    The prime minister is currently facing three separate cases, known as case 1000, 2000 and 4000.

    Case 1000 accuses Netanyahu of receiving gifts and benefits from billionaire benefactors in exchange for political favors. Case 2000 accuses the PM of conspiring with the Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper so as to weaken a rival daily in exchange for favorable political coverage for Netanyahu.

    Case 4000 — the most serious — accuses Netanyahu of making "advanced regulatory decision" that benefitted the controlling shareholder of the telecom giant Bezeq: Shaul Elovitch. Elovitch's alleged illicit gains amount to hundreds of millions of dollars in exchange for positive coverage of Netanyahu by Elovitch's Walla news site, according to The Times of Israel.

    In February, Tel Aviv Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit announced his intention to indict Netanyahu on all three cases with charges of breach of trust, fraud and bribery.


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    presidential system, bribery, prosecution, corruption, Knesset, Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel
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