By Tim Stickings For Mailonline and Associated Press
Published: 18:51 GMT, 1 January 2020 | Updated: 19:26 GMT, 1 January 2020
Benjamin Netanyahu said today he will ask Israel's parliament to grant him immunity from corruption charges, in a step which is likely to delay his trial for months.
The Israeli PM faces charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust, but has dismissed the allegations as a witch-hunt and refused to step down.
Today he revealed in a televised address that he would approach the speaker of the Knesset to ask for immunity.
The request is likely to languish in the deadlocked Knesset until after March elections, effectively postponing a trial.
Defiant: Benjamin Netanyahu (pictured in Jerusalem today) will ask Israel's parliament to grant him immunity from corruption charges, in a step which is likely to delay his trial for months
In addition, Netanyahu's move turns the upcoming election campaign into a referendum on whether the PM should be granted immunity.
A recent poll indicated that a majority of Israelis oppose giving him immunity.
In his address today, Netanyahu repeated his claim that he is the victim of an unfair conspiracy and said he would seek immunity while he remains in office.
'In order to continue to lead Israel to great achievements, I intend to approach the speaker of the Knesset, in order to fulfill my right, my duty and my mission to continue to serve you for the future of Israel,' he said.
Two 2019 elections left Israel in political deadlock, with