Despite the fact that investigations against Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu have been going on for some two years – and that State Attorney Avichai Mandelblit recommended charges against Netanyahu in three of the cases – the prime minister’s attorneys have not been given an opportunity to look at the evidence in any of the cases, some of it classified as “top secret.”
That changed Wednesday, as Netanyahu’s attorneys finally received permission to examine the evidence. The examination will allow Netanyahu’s attorneys to prepare for a hearing before Mandelblit, prior to any actual charges being filed. The hearing is meant to allow Netanyahu’s attorneys to present their case in light of the evidence; if the evidence is not strong enough, there is a good chance the charges will not be filed.
Mandelblit recommended that charges ranging from corruption to breach of trust be filed in Case 1000, in which Netanyahu is accused of accepting extravagant gifts from millionaire Arnon Milchin, mostly cigars and champagne; Case 2000, in which the prime minister allegedly leaned on the publishers of Yisrael Hayom to limit distribution of their free newspaper in order to benefit from better coverage in rival newspaper Yediot Acharonot; and Case 4000, also known as the Bezeq-Walla News Case, an influence-peddling probe that alleges that Netanyahu offered his good services to Israeli billionaire Shaul Elovich in return for positive coverage on the Walla news site. Netanyahu has repeatedly said that the charges are nonsense, and that the truth would come out when his attorneys have an opportunity to examine the evidence.