Defamation suit | Israel’s former Prime Ministers Benjamin Netanyahu, Ehud Olmert face off in court

Mr. Netanyahu, his wife and son appeared in the Tel Aviv Magistrate’s court for the opening of their case against Mr. Olmert, Mr. Netanyahu’s predecessor as Israel’s Prime Minister.

Two former Israeli Prime Ministers faced off in a Tel Aviv courtroom as Benjamin Netanyahu’s defamation suit against Ehud Olmert got under way on January 10.

Mr. Netanyahu, his wife and son appeared in the Tel Aviv Magistrate’s court for the opening of their case against Mr. Olmert, Mr. Netanyahu’s predecessor as Israel’s Prime Minister.

Mr. Netanyahu had threatened to sue Mr. Olmert for remarks he made last year, during the aftermath of the 2021 Israeli Parliamentary elections and while Mr. Netanyahu refused to step down while on trial for fraud, breach of trust and accepting bribes.

In an interview with an Israeli news site last April, Mr. Olmert levelled criticism at Mr. Netanyahu and said “what is irreparable is the mental illness of the Prime Minister, his wife and his son.” The Netanyahus have sued Mr. Olmert, seeking nearly $2,70,000 in damages, according to Hebrew press reports.

Neither Mr. Netanyahu nor Mr. Olmert spoke at the courthouse.

Mr. Olmert preceded Mr. Netanyahu as Israel’s Prime Minister, but resigned in 2008 before he was formally indicted on corruption charges. Mr. Olmert was convicted of fraud in 2014 and served most of a 27-month prison sentence.

As for Mr. Netanyahu, he is on trial for fraud, breach of trust and accepting bribes, but denies any wrongdoing. He was ousted from the Prime Minister’s office after a coalition of parties opposing him succeeded in forming a government without his once-dominant Likud party last June.

Mr. Netanyahu is currently serving as Oposition leader in the Knesset, Israel’s Parliament.

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