They include US casino mogul Sheldon Adelson and his wife Miriam, Hollywood producer Arnon Milchan, Australian billionaire James Packer and retired Israeli security chiefs, and several former aides who will be state witnesses against him.
Netanyahu poured scorn on the length of the witness list. He wrote on Twitter:
When an accusation is true, you don’t need 333 witnesses. When the accusation is untrue, not even 333 witnesses will help.
In one case, Netanyahu is suspected of wrongfully requesting and accepting expensive gifts, including champagne and cigars, from Milchan and Packer. Neither has been charged with any wrongdoing.
Another case focuses on allegations that Netanyahu promised the owner of Israel’s best-selling newspaper to push for regulations on its main competitor, owned by Adelson.
Netanyahu also is accused of granting regulatory favours worth about 1.8 billion shekels ($500 million) to Bezeq Telecom Israel in return for positive coverage on a website owned by its former chairman.
Talks between Netanyahu’s Likud and Gantz’s centrist Blue and White party on a “national unity” government are deadlocked.
If no agreement is reached within 10 days – the end of a three-week period in which legislators can nominate a candidate to try to form a government – Israel is likely to hold a new election.
Source: Middle East Monitor.