As Netanyahu is Discussing a Plea Bargain, Tweeps Are Divided Over The Potential Agreement
05:24 GMT 18.01.2022 (Updated: 17:25 GMT 15.01.2023)
The deal -- that could be inked as early as this week -- stipulates that the former prime minister would evade imprisonment in exchange for leaving the political scene for the next seven years. Although many tweeps have vented anger at the shaping agreement, there have also been those who have thrown their support behind him.
Israeli media is still discussing a potential plea bargain of former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with the prosecution, an agreement that could be inked as early as this week.
The former PM is currently going through a corruption trial, with the prosecution accusing him of bribery, fraud and breach of trust in a series of graft probes that include buying positive press and receiving gifts from a rich donor.
Netanyahu has repeatedly denied these allegations and accused the police, the judiciary and the liberal circles of Israel of setting up a plot aimed at ousting him from the political scene.
Now he seems to be making a deal with that same prosecution he has been undermining for years.
The potential plea bargain -- that stipulates he would evade imprisonment in exchange for leaving political life for seven years -- has already made waves on social media platforms. Some tweeps have been mocking the ex-premier for such a move. Others vented anger at the mere thought that such a deal could potentially be reached.
"Eventually, Bibi the coward is running to sign a deal like a culprit. Your 'leader' is just a Zero. He has only been several months in the opposition and it already finished him."
"... how can you strike a deal with a certified and a known liar? And for what?" - wrote one tweep.
Another wrote: "I am expressing my rejection of the plea deal with defendant Benjamin Netanyahu, based on the seriousness of his offences, and the principle of equality before the law."
But the "seriousness" of Netanyahu's offences is far from the only reason why some Israelis want to see him behind bars. For many, the ex-PM has been associated with division, hatred and incitement, primarily against the Arab community.
For others his name has been linked to the current coronavirus pandemic, the economic crisis it unkeyed, high rates of unemployment and the widening gap between the rich and the poor.
"... [regardless of the deal - ed.] Bibi should go to jail. He destroyed the country. He divided, caused hated, fought with the police, with the prosecution, the judges, the court and the law. Bibi murdered 6,500 Israelis with criminal negligence. He fights with demons and disperses fears like any other dictator."
However, not everyone is critical of Netanyahu, and Twitter has also been flooded with messages from his supporters, who have vowed to back Bibi no matter what.
"...We are fed up with an enforcement system that operates in a selective, arbitrary and illegal manner. We believe in Netanyahu's innocence and that the judicial system should bear the disgrace it inflicts on itself every day by proceeding with its hearings," wrote one Twitter user.
Another chimed in: "All these talks about a plea deal have taken the sting out of the hearings that are currently taking place in the Jerusalem court... I don't understand how anyone has any desire or patience to listen to evidence in these cases, when it is already clear that the prosecution is willing to retract the charges it has filed. It's theatre, no more than that."
The support was not limited to messages wishing him well. In recent days, Netanyahu's supporters have been leading a massive fundraising campaign that aimed at securing enough cash for a years'-long public trial.
So far, nearly $1 million has been raised and the aim is to collect another million. By gathering these funds, the supporters of the ex-premier apparently send him a message that they believe in his innocence, and they're also telling him that he should not be accepting any deals with the prosecution, primarily because it would be an indication of his defeat
Some polls, conducted by leading Israeli TV stations, reflect that trend. Channel 12, for example, found that 51 percent of conservatives are rejecting the deal. Only 31 percent support it
Another Israeli channel, 13, revealed that 40 percent of those asked objected to the charge of moral turpitude that the prosecution is pushing to include, which would bar Netanyahu from political life for the next seven years
Netanyahu is still mulling over the proposed deal. Reports suggest he is inclined to accept it but if he does, he will need to think of a way to sell it to his supporters.