In his first reference to reports that he may sign a plea deal, and amid conflict in the Likud about its next leader, opposition leader Binyamin Netanyahu released a video on Monday evening declaring that he has no intention of leaving politics and will continue leading the Likud.
In the video, Netanyahu denied agreeing to a moral turpitude clause that would require his exit from politics for seven years and thanked his millions of followers for their support (and almost NIS 4 million in donations).
According to Hebrew media reports, the negotiations between the former prime minister and Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit have dissolved. Channel 12 News reported that Mandelblit, whose seven-year term as AG is ending next week, informed Netanyahu’s attorneys earlier on Monday that plea deal negotiations will have to continue with the next AG.
Later on Monday evening, a Channel 13 News report claimed (without providing a source) that Netanyahu had filmed the video a number of days ago but only released it after it became clear that there was no chance for a plea deal with Mandelblit.
The report added that Netanyahu had agreed to a plea deal that includes a moral turpitude charge but later changed his mind. Political commentators remarked that Netanyahu’s message was crafted in a way that still allows him the option of plea deal negotiations in the future.
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)