Netanyahu fails to have corruption court hearing postponed

Prosecutors' office says the Israeli prime minister's hearing will not be delayed, 'not even for one day'

epa07619906 Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, 02 June 2019.  EPA/RONEN ZVULUN / POOL
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Israel's attorney general on Thursday rejected Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's request to delay a court hearing over corruption allegations against him.

The prosecutors' office said Mr Netanyahu had asked "that the hearing be delayed due to the dissolution of the Knesset and the elections due on September 17", the Ynet news site said.

After considering the matter, the prosecutor's office said "nothing justified agreeing to the request to change the dates fixed for the hearing".

Mr Netanyahu is facing possible indictment for bribery, fraud and breach of trust, and is reportedly seeking legislation in the new parliament that would result in his being granted immunity.

Last month, Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit pushed back to October the date by which Mr Netanyahu needed to respond to allegations against him.

The prosecutor's office stressed that the hearing scheduled for October 2 and 3 would not be delayed, "not even for one day".

"The new elections constitute exceptional circumstances to which exceptional attention must be accorded," Mr Netanyahu responded on Thursday.

He called new elections late last month after failing to form a coalition from polls in April, in which he and his right-wing and religious allies won a majority.

Mr Netanyahu is also on track to become Israel's longest-serving prime minister in July, passing the founding leader, David Ben-Gurion.