Benjamin Netanyahu was tasked with leading the government for the fourth time in two years, despite investigations into corruption

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been tasked with forming a government from the country’s fragmented parliament for the fourth time in two years.

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin handed Netanyahu the task on Tuesday, giving the controversial leader a chance to extend his lengthy tenure while on trial for corruption.

In his announcement, Rivlin acknowledged that no party leader had the necessary backing to form a majority coalition in the Knesset with 120 seats.

He also noted that many believe Netanyahu is not fit to serve in the face of his legal troubles.

Nonetheless, Rivlin said nothing in the law prevented Netanyahu from serving as prime minister.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been tasked with forming a government from the country's fragmented parliament for the fourth time in two years.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been tasked with forming a government from the country’s fragmented parliament for the fourth time in two years.

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin handed Netanyahu the task on Tuesday, giving the controversial leader a chance to extend his lengthy tenure while on trial for corruption.

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin handed Netanyahu the task on Tuesday, giving the controversial leader a chance to extend his lengthy tenure while on trial for corruption.

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin handed Netanyahu the task on Tuesday, giving the controversial leader a chance to extend his lengthy tenure while on trial for corruption.

After consulting with the 13 parties in the newly elected parliament, Rivlin said Netanyahu had the best chance of any candidate to form a new government.

“No candidate has a realistic chance of forming a government that will have the confidence of the Knesset,” Rivlin said.

But, he added, Netanyahu is “slightly more likely” to be able to do that.

“I’ve decided to entrust him with the task,” Rivlin said from Jerusalem.

Rivlin added that the choice was “not an easy decision on a moral and ethical basis.”

With that, Rivlin put forward the twin dramas about the future of the country and Netanyahu’s fate, giving Israel’s longest-serving prime minister another chance to try to save his career.

Netanyahu now has six weeks to try to bring a coalition together during his trial.

In his announcement, Rivlin acknowledged that no party leader had the necessary backing to form a majority coalition in the Knesset with 120 seats.  He also noted that many believe Netanyahu is not fit to serve in the face of his legal troubles

In his announcement, Rivlin acknowledged that no party leader had the necessary backing to form a majority coalition in the Knesset with 120 seats.  He also noted that many believe Netanyahu is not fit to serve in the face of his legal troubles

In his announcement, Rivlin acknowledged that no party leader had the necessary backing to form a majority coalition in the Knesset with 120 seats. He also noted that many believe Netanyahu is not fit to serve in the face of his legal troubles

It is believed that Netanyahu will have the best chance of forming a lasting government, despite allegations of corruption, after previous coalitions have collapsed.

It is believed that Netanyahu will have the best chance of forming a lasting government, despite allegations of corruption, after previous coalitions have collapsed.

It is believed that Netanyahu will have the best chance of forming a lasting government, despite allegations of corruption, after previous coalitions have collapsed.

But many in Israel support Netanyahu.  Pictured: Supporters of the prime minister are gathering outside the Jerusalem district court on April 5, 2021.  Netanyahu is accused of taking bribes, fraud and breach of trust in three cases.

But many in Israel support Netanyahu.  Pictured: Supporters of the prime minister are gathering outside the Jerusalem district court on April 5, 2021.  Netanyahu is accused of taking bribes, fraud and breach of trust in three cases.

But many in Israel support Netanyahu. Pictured: Supporters of the prime minister are gathering outside the Jerusalem district court on April 5, 2021. Netanyahu is accused of taking bribes, fraud and breach of trust in three cases.

The three main cases brought against ‘Bibi’

Case 1000:

Fraud and breach of trust

The first case was officially opened in 2016 and involves valuable gifts and gifts – such as cigars and bottles of champagne – reportedly received by Netanyahu and his wife from several wealthy acquaintances in exchange for favors.

Case 2000:

Fraud and breach of trust

The second case concerns taped conversations between Netanyahu and Arnon Mozes, chairman and editor of Yedioth Ahronoth, one of the largest newspapers in circulation in Israel.

The talks would have discussed legislation that could harm a major competitor of the newspaper – Israel Hayom, despite being seen as pro-Netanyahu. In return, Netanyahu is said to have received positive coverage.

Case 4000:

Bribery, fraud and breach of trust

The fourth case alleges that Netanyahu promoted regulatory decisions that favored the controlling shareholder in Bezeq telecom giant Shaul Elovitch.

Netanyahu was both prime minister and communications minister at the time and is said to have received positive coverage from Mr Elovitch’s Walla news site in return.

Early reactions from the Prime Minister’s sworn rivals pointed to the difficult road ahead.

Yair Lapid, leader of the party that won the second-highest number of seats, acknowledged that the law left Rivlin ‘no choice’, but in the same tweet he denounced the development as ‘an outrageous disgrace affecting Israel’.

A court ruling in the corruption case against Netanyahu can take months or even years.

The proceedings are expected to take place three days a week, an embarrassing and time-consuming distraction that will overshadow Netanyahu’s calls to his rivals.

Netanyahu has the most support – 52 seats – in Israel’s Knesset. But that’s still short of a majority of 61 seats.

He will likely use his powers of persuasion to try and lure a number of adversaries, including some former close associates who have vowed never to serve under him again, with generous offers from powerful ministries or legislative committees.

Parties representing 45 members supported Yair Lapid, while Yamina, with seven seats, nominated his own leader, Naftali Bennett.

Three parties with a total of 16 seats have not made a recommendation.

Rivlin’s decision brings together questions about Netanyahu’s legal and political future in what may be the greatest political challenge of his career.

In court, he is charged with fraud, breach of trust and bribery in three separate cases.

Proceedings resumed on Tuesday, although the prime minister would not appear in court.

A star witness on Monday cast Netanyahu as an image-obsessed leader who forced a prominent news site to help his family and infect his opponents.

Netanyahu has denied all charges and accused prosecutors in a nationally televised speech of prosecution in an attempt to oust him from office.

“This is what a coup attempt looks like,” he said.

Monday’s court hearing focused on the most serious case against Netanyahu – in which he is accused of promoting regulations that brought in hundreds of millions of dollars in profits for telecom company Bezeq in exchange for positive coverage on the company’s popular news site Walla.

Ilan Yeshua, Walla’s former editor-in-chief, described a system in which Bezeq’s owners, Shaul and Iris Elovitch, repeatedly pressured him to publish favorable stories about Netanyahu and infect the prime minister’s rivals.

The explanation he got from the couple? “That’s what the prime minister wanted,” he said.

Proceedings against Netanyahu are expected to take place up to three days a week, an embarrassing and time-consuming diversion that will overshadow his calls to his rivals.  Pictured: Court files are brought to Jerusalem court ahead of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's third hearing in East Jerusalem on April 5.

Proceedings against Netanyahu are expected to take place up to three days a week, an embarrassing and time-consuming diversion that will overshadow his calls to his rivals.  Pictured: Court files are brought to Jerusalem court ahead of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's third hearing in East Jerusalem on April 5.

Proceedings against Netanyahu are expected to take place up to three days a week, an embarrassing and time-consuming diversion that will overshadow his calls to his rivals. Pictured: Court files are brought to Jerusalem court ahead of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s third hearing in East Jerusalem on April 5.