But the decision to charge him is likely to deal a heavy blow to Mr Netanyahu's hopes of remaining in office.
On Thursday, the country's attorney general Avichai Mandelblit released a 63-page indictment, accusing Netanyahu of bribery, fraud, and breach of trust.
Netanyahu, 70, denies all wrongdoing but now finds himself stuck in political and legal limbo. But the bombshell disclosure could make it hard for him to remain in office, especially after two inconclusive national elections and the looming prospect of a third.
Conviction on the charges could bring a lengthy jail term.
Netanyahu has declared the charges to be part of a "witch hunt" orchestrated by left-wing politicians, the media, and prosecutors. "I will continue to lead this country with devotion", he said. But this is a sad day. One of those favors is reportedly what Israelis have started calling the "Milchan law", which cuts taxes for citizens who return to Israel after living overseas.
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They argued that it differs from state protocols and that legally federal executions must be carried out according to state law. Chutka wrote in a late Wednesday ruling that the public is not served by "short-circuiting" legitimate judicial process.
The third case, "Case 4000", Netanyahu, while serving as communications minister and as prime minister between 2015 and 2017, allegedly intervened with regulators in a way that benefited the controlling shareholder of Israel's largest telecommunications firm in exchange for positive news coverage on a site owner by that shareholder. In another, he is accused of dispensing favors in return for favorable stories about him in Israel's biggest selling newspaper, Yedioth Ahronoth.
In February, Mandelblit announced his intention to indict Netanyahu on charges of fraud, breach of trust, and bribery, following up on police recommendations. What my family is going through is unbearable.
The only plausible way out of a third election - and the prolonged political paralysis that has gripped Israel for the past year - would be a unity government.
Its conflict with arch-foe Iran has deepened - Israeli warplanes hit Iranian targets in Syria on Wednesday after rockets were fired toward Israel - while fighting with Palestinian militants in Gaza flared last week. The introduction of criminal charges could further complicate the eventual rollout of the USA administration's long-delayed Middle East peace plan by imperilling the political future of one of the key players whose support is needed.
Two close aides to Netanyahu turned state's witness and testified against him in the case.