In THAT country….
They DID indict their government leader IN Office….
Few world leaders have ever stood trial while in office, let alone while running for re-election in the middle of a pandemic.
Yet on Monday morning — with a general election just weeks away, and a fraught decision about reopening the education system due soon — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel was forced to shift his attention away from matters of state and attend instead the resumption of his trial on corruption charges.
The hearing was largely administrative, and Mr. Netanyahu spoke only briefly to plead his innocence.
“I confirm the response that was filed in my name,” the prime minister said, referring to a written plea that his lawyers entered several weeks ago.
Mr. Netanyahu spent less than half an hour inside the courtroom before leaving his lawyers to argue with the three judges about procedural matters. But that was the first time that Mr. Netanyahu had spoken in the court itself since the trial started last May, and only the second time that he had attended in person.
And the simple spectacle of a sitting prime minister in the dock has kindled a debate about the health of Israel’s democracy and judicial system.
For some, the fact that an Israeli prime minister can be brought to trial in an Israeli court is strong evidence of judicial independence and equality before the law. But others fear that the discourse surrounding the trial — which Mr. Netanyahu has himself portrayed as a plot by unelected bureaucrats to undermine the will of the people — has undermined public trust in the judicial system.
On Monday, the chief prosecutor in the case, Liat Ben-Ari, arrived in court accompanied by a security detail, after threats to her safety.
“It’s a clash that we see elsewhere in the world between a certain kind of populism and a rules-based justice system,” said Ofer Zalzberg, an analyst based in Jerusalem for the Herbert C. Kelman Institute, a research group focused on conflict resolution….