JERUSALEM (JTA) — Benjamin Netanyahu may remain prime minister of Israel despite his indictment on corruption charges.
Responding to a lawsuit seeking Netanyahu’s ouster, Israel’s Supreme Court said it was not practical to rule on the issue because a prime minister’s resignation would bring about new elections, which are already scheduled. During the run-up to the election, the court noted, the outgoing prime minister remains in his job.
Also Thursday, Netanyahu told the high court that he would resign his other ministerial posts by Jan. 1. He also serves as minister of agriculture, diaspora affairs, health and welfare.
Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit said he would force Netanyahu to resign the ministerial positions if he did not voluntarily.
Under Israeli law, a sitting prime minister charged with a crime is not required to step down. Resigning from other ministerial posts became requisite in 1993 when the Supreme Court ruled that then-Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin needed to fire minister Aryeh Deri after Deri was accused of taking bribes and having an indictment filed against him.