On the eve of a Likud rally to back Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in his fight against corruption indictments, Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit and Blue and White leader Benny Gantz denounced unprecedented attacks on the justice system and its senior officials.
“The dignified approach we take is not always embraced by others,” Mandelblit said at a legal conference in Eilat, according to The Times of Israel. “I am hearing expressions that don’t have a place in public discourse that are directed at the law enforcement system, and certain senior officials inside it. I am hearing threats. I am hearing lies. I am hearing baseless slander. That is simply shocking.”
He also decried the fact that due to threats against them, security details have been assigned to State Prosecutor Shai Nitzan and prosecution official Liat Ben Ari. He called the situation “unacceptable.”
Nitzan was singled out by PM Netanyahu himself in a nationwide address last week rejecting the indictments, claiming that he was responsible for influencing the attorney general’s decision to indict.
However, Mandelblit averred, “Binyamin Netanyahu is the prime minister of us all. He heads the government, which we serve. The state prosecution is not, G-d forbid, in a confrontation with the prime minister or any minister.”
Benny Gantz criticized the Likud rally directly, saying in a tweet:
“The right to protest and freedom of expression is the centerpiece of democracy. In a healthy democracy a person has the right to freely express their opinion. In a healthy democracy a prime minister doesn’t organize a protest against the law enforcement system for which he is responsible.”
Later on Tuesday, Nitzan was quoted as saying that since Justice Minister Amir Ohana was appointed to his office, he was never asked to speak with him, Maariv reported.
“To my great regret, for four months I was not invited to speak [with him] not to a work session, nothing,” he said, “the minister never [once] asked me about any flaws I see in the [work] of the State Attorney.”
Nitzan said he was “astounded” when he heard Ohana alleging an inner SA within the State Attorney which is attempting to influence the decisions in the cases against Netanyahu.
Nitzan added that there are “mighty forces” at work to damage the credibility of the SA.
Updated Tuesday, November 26, 2019 at 3:35 pm nitzan comment