Attorney Jacob Weinroth, one of Israel’s leading lawyers and an attorney for Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, reportedly planned for Netanyahu to step down in order to receive a reduced sentence in the multiple corruption investigations he is caught up in.
Weinroth passed away Tuesday at the age of 71 following a battle with cancer. Widely considered to have been one of Israel’s leading litigators, Weinroth represented a number of high-profile clients including Prime Minister Netanyahu, former President Ezer Weizman, former IDF Chief of Staff Rafael Eitan, as well as the Jewish Underground of the mid-1980s.
According to a report in Haaretz on Wednesday, Weinroth had in place a multi-stage plan to save Netanyahu from an extended prison term. Weinroth's plan dictated the Netanyahu cut a plea deal with prosecutors that would involve him resigning from office.
The plan took it as a given that Netanyahu, as the polls predict, would win an outright victory in the upcoming elections. The premier would work out a significant diplomatic achievement, such as a peace deal, which would cause his popularity to rise even higher. Netanyahu would step down as part of a plea agreement that would spare him from a heavy sentence.
Netanyahu is the target of several open investigations. In February, police recommended that the Prime Minister be indicted in both the Case 1000 and Case 2000 investigations, each of which involves allegations of preferential treatment or assistance given in exchange for either gifts or positive media coverage.
Another probe titled the “Case 4000”investigation, centers on suspicions that a Netanyahu aide provided chief Bezeq shareholder Shaul Elovitch with regulatory benefits in exchange for sympathetic coverage to the prime minister and his wife on the Walla! website, which is owned by Elovitch as well.
Netanyahu has steadfastly maintained his innocence in all three investigations.
The recently-deceased Weinroth was considered one of Israel's top defense attorneys. An alumnus of Ponovezh and Mir yeshivas, Weinroth was ordained as a rabbi by Rabbi Bezalel Zolti, Rabbi Shmuel Rozovsky, and Rabbi David Povarsky.
Weinroth earned his LL.B. and master’s degree in jurisprudence from Tel Aviv University in 1972 and 1974, earning his Ph.D in law from Tel Aviv University in 1982.
Following Weinroth's death, Netanyahu praised him for his “sense of justice and loyalty to his people”.
“My wife and I are saddened by the passing of attorney Jacob Weinroth. Jacob had a great personality, great wisdom, sharpness of mind, and a great sense of justice and loyalty to his people," tweeted Netanyahu.
“This is a great loss to his family, to his acquaintances and admirers, and it is a great loss to the Israeli world of law.”