İrem GÖL -TDO- Benjamin Netanyahu could be banned from forming a government after Israel’s court began assessing petitions that seek to obstruct the prime minister because he is under criminal indictment. If the court decides against Netanyahu, it could also return Israel to the political crisis just two weeks after the two leaders finally agreed to form a government after three consecutive elections. The decision also could end the career of the country’s longest-serving leader.

On 20th of April, Netanyahu, with his main competitor Benny Gantz agreed to form a unity government. However, eight petitions filed by advocacy groups and opposition figures that as a caretaker leader, Netanyahu is not protected by an Israeli law under which prime ministers are not legally obliged to step down if charged with a crime. Netanyahu’s upcoming trial – in which he faces damning charges of liberty, fraud and breach of trust – was meant to begin last month but was postponed until the 24th of May owing to concerns about the spread of the coronavirus.

Eliad Shraga, the founder of the Movement for Quality Government in Israel, said: “This is part of the difficult problem in Israel today. Corruption has become acceptable.” On the other hand, it would be a controversial step for the courts to intervene after such a critical political agreement, mainly because it was in part achieved because of the added urgency caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Covid-19 has infected about 16,000 Israelis and killed 230 together with the devastating impacts on the economy.

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