A note on Netanyahu charges: Formal indictment could still take many months

If Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit announces today that he plans to indict Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, that does not mean the premier will face any immediate legal peril. It could take months before formal charges are filed, as Netanyahu is expected to ask the Knesset for parliamentary immunity.

The Knesset House Committee and plenum would have to rule on Netanyahu’s immunity, but the committee does not currently have any members, as no coalition agreement has yet been signed in the 22nd Knesset dividing up committee seats between the parliament’s factions.

Only once a new coalition is formed — either over the next three weeks or, failing that, after the next round of elections slated for March — can a Knesset House Committee take up the question.

Even if Netanyahu’s immunity request is rejected, it could take until May or June for the formal decision to be made — and possibly even more than that, if the next elections also don’t lead to a coalition. A formal indictment could still be more than seven months away.

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