Photo Credit: Olivier Fitoussi / Flash 90
Opposition chairman Benjamin Netanyahu.

More than NIS 2 million (approximately $645,000) was raised Sunday by 10 pm Israel time so far in a public crowdfunding campaign to cover the legal costs of the court defense battle being waged by opposition leader and former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The campaign, launched by Netanyahu supporter Yinon Magal in the face of reports the former prime minister is in talks to discuss a plea deal with prosecutors, is aimed at convincing the opposition leader to continue the fight to prove his innocence.

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A letter on the funding site advises that no family can donate more than an “aggregate amount of NIS 5,000.” Donors are told the charges against Netanyahu are the “result of persecution” and “an attempt to achieve at all costs the conviction of the leader of the right wing camp with the intention of distancing him from the leadership of the state.

“We in the right wing camp are doing our part to protect [Netanyahu] because when the left wing and the prosecution put Benjamin Netanyahu on the stand, they put all of us on the stand with him.”

The letter adds that Netanyahu is “paying the price for years of standing firm at the head of the right wing camp. . . He should not have to pay for that alone. To strengthen Benjamin Netanyahu in this difficult challenge, we express our support for him and our desire to strengthen his spirit. This is the least that any of us can do.”

Some of the donors were particularly creative in making their views known, substituting the names of Netanyahu’s political enemies – such as “Ayelet Shaked,” “Gideon Sa’ar,” “Shai Nitzan,” “Avichai Mandelblit” and “Naftali Bennett,” among others – instead of their own.

Netanyahu, heavily supported by right wing voters, has been accused of corruption in three separate cases, including added bribery charges in one of the three.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.