Chief prosecutor: Netanyahu abused power entrusted to him

Judah Ari Gross is The Times of Israel's military correspondent.

With Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the Jerusalem District Court, prosecutor Liat Ben Ari makes her opening statement at the start of the evidentiary stage of his trial, laying out the state’s case against the premier.

In the courtroom, Netanyahu writes notes on a pad of paper and watches Ben-Ari as she delivers her address, describing the ways in which the prime minister allegedly abused the powers of his office in three cases: Case 1000, Case 2000 and Case 4000.

“The case before the honorable court today is a significant and severe case of regime corruption. The first suspect is the prime minister of Israel who, according to the indictment, used his great power in a forbidden way,” Ben-Ari reads from her prepared statement.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sits alone in the back bench of the Jerusalem District Court and scribbles notes as Liat Ben Ari begins her speech, March 5, 2021. (Oren Ben Hakoon/Pool)

The prime minister and most of his attorneys donned black face masks for the trial, while most of the prosecution opted for white ones, as they sit in the small courtroom in the Jerusalem District Court in East Jerusalem.

Outside, pro-Netanyahu demonstrators use megaphones and speakers to voice their support for the premier and to blast upbeat music.