Opposition Rails Against Delay in Netanyahu Hearing

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu speaking during the weekly cabinet meeting at the Prime Minister’s office in Yerushalayim, Sunday. (Ariel Schalit/Pool via Reuters)

The news of the postponement of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s hearing in three criminal cases by almost three months set off a rhetorical barrage from the opposition on Wednesday, denouncing it as an attempt to thwart justice.

Labor MK Stav Shaffir accused Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit of being biased in the prime minister’s favor. Mandelblit — a Netanyahu appointee who previously served as his chief of staff — should have recused himself from the case, she said.

Mandelblit is “proving what we thought — he shouldn’t have dealt with the Netanyahu cases. He is afraid and owes his career to Bibi Erdogan,” she said,& combining Netanyahu’s nickname with the name of the Turkish president, who has come to symbolize a transition from democracy to tyranny in the Mideast.

Pointing out that it could have been worse from their point of view, Labor MK Shelly Yachimovich said: “I welcome the attorney general’s decision, rejecting Netanyahu’s attempt to postpone the hearing for an entire year, instead only granting him a proportionate extension.”

“In any event, it is already clear that the deferral will be used [by Netanyahu] for destructive attempts to assure that the hearing will not take place, and that he will escape justice while destroying the foundations of democracy,” the former opposition chairwoman added.

Meretz head Tamar Zandberg charged that “the prime minister suspected of bribery intends to throw everything he’s got toward abolishing the independence of the courts in order to evade prosecution.”

Meanwhile, the Movement for Quality Government said that it will petition the High Court to overrule the delay.

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