Israeli opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu has for several weeks been negotiating a plea agreement with Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit, according to Israeli media reports.

Why it matters: One key sticking point is whether the deal, which would require Netanyahu to plead guilty to corruption charges, would also require the former prime minister to step away from politics. Any deal would create a political firestorm in Israeli, and could bring down the current government.

That's because Prime Minister Naftali Bennett's government — which includes left-wing, centrist and right-wing parties — was formed six months ago mainly to oust Netanyahu from power. It excluded the largest party, Likud, because of the corruption charges against the party's leader, Netanyahu.Netanyahu is the “glue” that holds the current government together. If he exits the stage, Israel could either head for new elections or a new government under Netanyahu's eventual successor as Likud leader.

Driving the news: Last Wednesday, Israeli journalist Ben Caspit first reported about the negotiations, which were held secretly between Netanyahu’s lawyer and the attorney general.

Several other reports have followed, outlining the proposed terms of the deal. Neither Netanyahu nor the Ministry of Justice have denied them. Netanyahu hasn't commented publicly but many of his supporters in Likud are continuing to call on him to fight.The allegations against Netanyahu include that he systematically demanded gifts from businesspeople worth in excess of $250,000 in total and offered regulatory benefits in exchange for favorable media coverage.

Behind the scenes: Netanyahu initiated the negotiations informally through mediators. After the attorney general demanded a formal proposal, Netanyahu's lawyers weighed in.

Netanyahu's lawyers pushed him for three years to consider a plea deal, but he refused. His wife and son both pressed him to fight the indictments in court.But with...
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