- Title: Netanyahu backs U.S. actions, heads to Athens amid trouble at home
- Date: 2nd January 2020
- Summary: STREET SCENE (SOUNDBITE) (English) 64-YEAR-OLD CRAIG SCHOTTENSTEIN, SAYING: "If Netanyahu did in fact commit these crimes he needs to be transparent and he needs to own up to any of the discrepancies or any of the wrong doings that may have happen and quite frankly, the country needs to know about this." (SOUNDBITE) (English) SARAH AVITSUR, A 64-YEAR-OLD SOCIAL WORKER, SAYING: "Once the police and the prosecution believe that very serious crimes have been committed by our prime minister, I'm ... it's embarrassing, it's upsetting, I hope very very much that this ridiculous idea will not go through."
- Embargoed: 16th January 2020 11:03
- Keywords: Cyprus Greece Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu U.S. embassy in Iraq corruption case gas deal immunity
- Location: JERUSALEM/ BEN GURION AIRPORT, ISRAEL
- City: JERUSALEM/ BEN GURION AIRPORT, ISRAEL
- Country: Israel
- Topics: Government/Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA005BUHB8EF
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text:Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday (January 2) departed to Athens where he is expected to sign a deal with Greece and Cyprus for a subsea gas pipeline, hours after he asked parliament to protect him from prosecution in three graft cases.
Before boarding the plane at Israel's Ben Gurion international airport, Netanyahu said Israel fully supported the United State's actions in Iraq and "its full right to defend itself and its citizens," after supporters of Iranian-backed Iraqi paramilitary groups stormed the U.S. Embassy's perimeter in two days of protests.
In Jerusalem, Israelis reacted to Netanyahu's request of immunity with mixed views: David Albichzar, a 60-year-old hairdresser, said he supported Netanyahu's use of his legal right for immunity, while 64-year-old social worker Sarah Avitsur said: "it's embarrassing, it's upsetting, I hope very very much that this ridiculous idea will not go through."
Netanyahu was indicted in November on charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust over allegations he granted state favours worth hundreds of millions of dollars to Israeli media barons in return for gifts and favourable coverage.
He denies any wrongdoing, saying he is the victim of a witch hunt by the media and left to oust a popular right-wing leader.
Recent opinion polls have shown neither Blue and White nor Netanyahu's Likud party are within easy reach of a governing bloc in parliament in an election now two months away.
(Production: Dedi Hayun, Lianne Back)
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