Netanyahu defiant after move to indict him ahead of polls

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s long reign atop Israeli politics has earned him the nickname “King Bibi,” but a decision ahead of April elections to indict him on corruon charges may be his biggest challenge yet.

After Israel’s Attorney General announced on Thursday he intended to charge Mr. Netanyahu with bribery, fraud and breach of trust pending a hearing, he showed characteristic defiance in a televised statement.

He blamed his political opponents for what he called a “witch hunt” intended to force him from office — though he appointed the Attorney General who issued the decision.

“Netanyahu will not resign,” said Ilan Greilsammer, political science professor at the University of Tel Aviv.

Mr. Netanyahu is not legally required to resign if indicted, only if convicted with all appeals exhausted.

Mr. Netanyahu now faces a challenge from a centrist political alliance, led by former armed forces chief of staff Benny Gantz, in general election on April 9. Should he win in April, he will be on track to surpass founding father David Ben-Gurion’s record of more than 13 years in office.