How long will Netanyahu's trial take?

Trial for Binyamin Netanyahu begins on same day his new government convenes for first time. Trial will likely outlast new unity government.

David Rosenberg ,

Netanyahu joined by Likud lawmakers at opening of his trial
Netanyahu joined by Likud lawmakers at opening of his trial
Yonatan Sindel/FLASH90

The long-awaited trial of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu opened Sunday afternoon at 3:00 p.m., the culmination of three separate investigations spanning some three years.

Netanyahu has been charged with bribery in the Case 4000 investigation, relating to claims he sped up regulatory reforms to benefit Bezeq owner Shaul Elovitch in exchange for favorable coverage from the Walla media outlet, which is also owned by Elovitch.

In addition, the prime minister has been indicted on charges of fraud and breach of trust – though not bribery – in the Case 1000 investigation, which revolves around some 700,000 shekels-worth of gifts, including cigars, champagne, and jewelry, allegedly given to the prime minister and his family from wealthy businessmen. Netanyahu also faces breach of trust charges in the Case 2000 matter, in which Netanyahu allegedly worked to undermine the Israel Hayom newspaper for the benefit of its rival, Yediot Aharonot.

The trial began Sunday just hours after the new national unity government, led by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and alternate Prime Minister Benny Gantz convened for the first time, following its inauguration last week.

The new government is set to last for no more than three years, with Netanyahu serving as premier for the first eighteen months, before rotating with Gantz, who will serve as prime minister for the second eighteen months.

But according to a report by Israel Hayom Sunday, Netanyahu’s trial will likely last at least three years, and will probably end only after the current national unity government is dissolved.

A total of 333 witnesses have already been put on the trial roster.

Along with Netanyahu, Yediot Aharonot publisher Arnon Moses is also facing charges in the trial, along with Shaul Elovitch and Iris Elovitch.

Even if after the three-year trial Netanyahu is found guilty on some or all of the charges, he will not be required by law to step down as prime minister until after he has exhausted the appeals process.