Israel: Israel’s Netanyahu in court for corruption trial as coalition talks ramp up

Netanyahu, ordered to appear for opening arguments in his trial, sat in the Jerusalem District wearing a black mask as the prosecution accused him of misusing his office to advance his political interests.

Netanyahu denies wrongdoing in the case where he has been charged with accepting improper gifts and seeking to trade regulatory favours with media moguls in exchange for positive coverage.

Lead prosecutor Liat Ben-Ari told judges that Netanyahu was involved in “a serious case of government corruption.”

He “made illegitimate use of the great governmental power entrusted to him,” in his dealings with media executives “in order to advance his personal affairs – including when he faced his desire to be re-elected,” she said.

As Ben-Ari was laying out the criminal case against Israel’s longest-serving leader, across the city President Reuven Rivlin began meetings that could determine Netanyahu’s political fate.

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