On Tuesday morning, the Israeli Supreme Court opened a special session to consider the petition against the eligibility of Benjamin Netanyahu, the interim Israeli Prime Minister, in forming a government, in light of criminal charges against him, the Palestine News Network reported.

The Hebrew newspaper “Yediot Aharonot” said that “a committee composed of three judges in the court started looking at the possibility that a member of the Knesset (parliament), who is forming a government while facing criminal crimes, would refer to Netanyahu.

The Judicial Committee is chaired by the President of the Supreme Court, Esther Hayut, the Vice-President of the Supreme Court, Hanan Melcer, and Judge Uzi Fogelman.

The petition was submitted by nearly 70 Israeli personalities, including university professors, and technology and security workers, who were seeking to prevent Netanyahu from forming the government, after the March 2 Israeli elections, to file an indictment against him with corruption files.

According to “Yediot,” the Supreme Court asked the Israeli Attorney General and Judicial Adviser to the government, Avichai Mendelblit, to provide his legal opinion in this regard, but he answered, saying that he “wants to wait even after the court’s ruling.”

Opponents of Netanyahu say he refused to form a broad unity government and insisted on holding elections, the third in less than a year, to give himself more room to maneuver to evade the trial.

On December 13, the Knesset announced that it would dissolve itself and hold early elections on March 2, 2020, after Netanyahu and his rival Benny Gantz failed for the second time to obtain a majority of 61 (out of 120) representatives to form a government.

Next Thursday, a deadline for Netanyahu to submit a request for immunity to the Speaker of the Knesset, Yuli Adelstein, from trial in three corruption cases, expires.

The government’s attorney general, Avichai Mandelblit, announced last month that he had filed an indictment against Netanyahu on charges of bribery, breach of trust and fraud.

In the event that Netanyahu makes the request for immunity, all legal measures against him will be suspended until the formation of the government and the parliamentary committee concerned with deciding to grant him immunity.

Photo: PNN
Edited for IMEMC: Ali Salam