Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu has been indicted in three corruption cases after he withdrew his request for immunity hours before the Knesset was set to pick up the issue.
The Justice Ministry announced today, January 28 that the indictment had been filed at the Jerusalem District Court.
Netanyahu could soon face trial for charges of fraud, breach of trust and bribery in three separate cases.
It is unclear, however, whether the trial will begin before Israelis head to the polls on March 2.
Netanyahu had announced on Facebook earlier on Tuesday that he had informed Parliamentary Speaker Yuli Edelstein of his decision.
The Israeli prime minister, who is currently in Washington as U.S. President Donald Trump is set to unveil his Middle East peace plan, said that he decided not to let this dirty game continue.
At this fatal hour for the people of Israel, while I am in the United States on a historic mission to determine the permanent borders of Israel and ensure our safety for future generations, the Knesset is to begin another show in the immunity circus,’’ he wrote.
His chances of success had been slim, since the lawmakers in the current Knesset who are opposed to the request have a majority.
Today, the parliament still voted in favour of setting up a House Committee, which would have decided on whether the 70-year-old should be given immunity, even though he had withdrawn the request.
The committee will begin talks on a parliamentary immunity request by ex-minister Haim Katz, a member of Netanyahu’s Likud party.
Edelstein, also a Likud member, left when the discussion began.
He had earlier called the formation of the committee shortly before elections a grave mistake and said he would not cooperate.
Netanyahu’s political rival Benny Gantz, who also went to Washington to meet Mr Trump and discuss the plan, said the prime minister was going to trial and Israel must move forward.
“No man can manage a country as well as manage three serious criminal cases,’’ wrote Mr Gantz, who had returned to Israel for the proceedings.
Israel’s attorney general announced in November that Netanyahu would be charged with fraud, breach of trust and bribery in three cases.
It is now the first time in Israel’s history that an incumbent prime minister is facing indictment.
Netanyahu is not required to resign as prime minister when indicted, though he did step down from all his ministerial posts earlier this month.
The long-time leader is facing corruption charges for allegedly offering political favours in return for positive press coverage and helping wealthy business contacts in return for gifts.
The elections scheduled for March 2 are an unprecedented third in less than a year.
The government has found itself in political limbo amid a stalemate between a bloc of right-wing and religious parties led by Netanyahu and a bloc of centrist and Arab parties.