After the Jerusalem District Court rejected Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s request to skip the start of his corruption trial, Sunday will mark an all new precedent for Israel: a sitting prime minister in the dock as a criminal defendant. Netanyahu's attorneys had asked the court for an exemption, arguing that his presence was “not essential” because their client had “read this indictment several times already,” and that the presence of his bodyguards would violate the Health Ministry's social distancing protocols. The court rejected the request, saying that Netanyahu "must, like all other accused, appear and give his statement before the court.” Already in power for over a decade, he will now likely be prime minister for another 18 months, as he fights the corruption charges. For more in-depth coverage of Netanyahu’s trial, click here.
Numerous Israeli websites were hit Thursday morning in a cyberattack. Hundreds of sites were targeted, including some belonging to major firms, political groups, and other notable organizations and individuals. A video appeared on the affected websites showing Israeli cities being bombed and a message in Hebrew and broken English: "The countdown of Israel destruction has begun since a long time ago.” A hacking expert linked the attack(s) to an activist group with ties to Turkey, the Gaza Strip, and some North African countries. However, there was no indication there were any direct ties to Iran. That being said, on Wednesday Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei put out a tweet containing these words: “We will support and assist any nation or any group anywhere who opposes and fights the Zionist regime, and we do not hesitate to say this.” The attack came days after a cyberattack on computer systems at an Iranian port was blamed on Israel. Monday, The Washington Post reported that on May 9, Israel had brought down the computer systems at Shahid Rajaee’s port terminal, causing a total shutdown of the facility. Israel’s alleged action was likely in response to an alleged Iranian attempt to hack Israel’s water infrastructure system, on May 7. The increasing hostility of these back-and-forth cyberattacks seems to point to a conflict that is unlikely to end anytime soon.