In a unanimous ruling, the 11-justice panel “found no legal basis to prevent Knesset member Netanyahu from forming the government,” adding that its decision “should not be construed as diminishing the gravity of the charges faced by against public probity, nor the difficulty posed by the tenure of a prime minister accused of crimes.”
The country’s top court also found that Netanyahu’s unity government deal with his rival Benny Gantz does not violate the law, dismissing arguments that it unlawfully shields him in a corruption trial.
In a hearing this week, the Supreme Court heard arguments from eight petitioners seeking to block the deal, including former Gantz ally Yair Lapid, head of the Yesh Atid party. While Netanyahu and Gantz declared that they hope to swear in the new government on May 13.
Gantz had vowed during his campaigns that he would never sit in a government led by a PM facing corruption charges. But the former general changed his position due to the gravity of the coronavirus crisis.
Netanyahu and Gantz reached an agreement last month to form a ruling coalition. Under the new coalition deal, the two parties will begin advancing legislation to enshrine a rotation agreement for the premiership between the rival leaders.
Far-right Netanyahu, who has been in office for 11 years, will remain in power as PM while Gantz will serve as a deputy. The two will switch positions after 18 months.
The deal also requires the approval of both parties on key appointments, including the attorney general and the state prosecutor, granting Netanyahu veto power over the officials who could dictate his future.
It was also decided that Netanyahu could move forward with legislation to annex parts of the West Bank starting July 1, on the condition of Washington’s greenlight, according to the deal.