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Israel’s parliament schedules immunity hearings for Netanyahu

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu requested immunity in the three corruption cases against him — and now the Knesset will discuss.

The Israeli parliament’s Arrangements Committee said on Tuesday that the House Committee will begin immunity hearings on Jan. 30, though a House Committee has yet to be formed. The full Knesset will vote on Jan. 28 to set up the required House Committee. There are six sessions over the course of one week allotted for the hearings ending on Feb. 6.

Hours before a deadline early this month, Netanyahu announced that he would ask the Knesset to grant him the parliamentary immunity.

Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit cannot open trial proceedings against Netanyahu before the immunity request is considered.

But Netanyahu will have to face a trial at some point: The immunity would last only until the Knesset that grants it is dissolved.

The prime minister apparently believed that the current caretaker Knesset would not be able to form a House Committee and vote on the immunity request, and that the request would not be taken up until the Knesset formed after the March 2 national elections.

Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein announced Sunday that he would convene lawmakers next week to vote on forming the House Committee, raising the ire of Likud lawmakers and Netanyahu. Benny Gantz and his Blue and White alliance had threatened to remove Edelstein if he did not convene the Knesset.