Culture Minister Miri Regev on Sunday unleashed a broadside against Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit’s handling of the cases against Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, suggesting that his decision to announce whether he will file an indictment before the April elections smacks of partisanship.
Regev said it appeared that the attorney general is “trying to join the chorus that aims to topple Netanyahu.”
“Mandelblit cannot publish his recommendations without letting the prime minister respond,” Regev said, according to the Kan public broadcaster. “It is unacceptable that the public is only hearing one side. The prime minister has the presumption of innocence and the right to defend himself and to express his position.”
Her comments were in line with Mr. Netanyahu’s own statements about what he argues is the impropriety of proceeding with the case before elections. Regev was the first minister to go on record against Mandelblit in the matter.
A source in Mandelblit’s office was quoted by Haaretz on Sunday as saying that he will probably make the announcement in February.
Mandelblit himself has refused to comment on the timeline for his decision; all of the media reports quote sources in the government, but not the attorney general.
When a Channel 10 reporter suggested to Mandelblit last Thursday at the sidelines of a legal conference that he could determine who Israel’s next prime minister will be, Mandelblit said he had “no idea” about that, and that such thoughts do not enter his mind.