Netanyahu Fights Back on Mandelblit Recommendation Possibility

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu (L) and Avichai Mandelblit. (Marc Israel Sellem/POOL/Flash90)

With the pressure on State Attorney Avichai Mandelblit to decide on whether or not to recommend that Binyamin Netanyahu be indicted in one of the investigations open against him, the prime minister on Motzoei Shabbos released a video on social media criticizing the possibility of that happening.

“A man in a Middle Eastern country is walking down the street with a leaking prosthetic where his arm should be,” Netanyahu says in the message. “They ask him what happened, and he says he was convicted of theft. Then they ask him what happened next, and he says he won on appeal. Can anyone give him back his arm?” The same would be the case if Mandelblit issued his recommendations before the elections; it would skew the results and rob Israelis of freedom of choice, Netanyahu said.

If Mandeblit recommends an indictment for Netanyahu, the prime minister is entitled to a hearing to present his side of the case, a process that itself could take months to complete. With three months to go before the election, completing that process won’t be possible. “Can anyone return you your election? You can’t have a hearing about an indictment before an election if you can’t finish the hearing before the election,” Netanyahu said.

With that, a poll released by Hadashot News Motzoei Shabbos said that 64 percent of Israelis want Mandelblit to make his decision before the election, assuming that Netanyahu’s hearing could take place. Twenty-two percent said Mandelblit should not announce his decision, while 14 percent had no opinion.

On Thursday, Mandelblit said that “the legal system will continue to act strictly in the interests of the state and with the full backing of the rule of law. Our obligation is to determine the truth, to make a proper and just decision. The only thing that matters are the facts. We will continue to do this as soon as possible without compromising on the content or quality of our decision.”