Wave of Indignation Over Netanyahu Indictment

Israeli Defense Minister Naftali Bennett during a Knesset plenary session on Tuesday. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

Members of Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu‏‏’s right-wing bloc expressed indignation at the decision of Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit to file indictments against the prime minister on the very day he is in Washington negotiating the terms of the U.S. peace plan.

Defense Minister Naftali Bennett, head of the Yamina party, asked “Why was it so urgent for them to humiliate Prime Minister Netanyahu when he’s abroad, representing all of us? They could have waited a day or two for him to return home.”

PM Netanyahu withdrew his request for parliamentary immunity, thereby removing the last legal obstacle to filing indictments.

Sources close to the prime minister were quoted in local media alleging that the timing is proof that what Netanyahu has called a “witch hunt” is real.

“If anyone still had doubts that there is an obsessive persecution against Prime Minister Netanyahu, they’ve now been given clear proof,” they said.

“The eagerness to file the preposterous indictment against the prime minister is so great, they couldn’t even wait a single day for the historic summit in Washington, one of the most important in the nation’s history, to conclude.”

Transportation Minister Bezalel Smotrich (Yemina) also lashed out at Mandelblit, saying in a tweet that he “is not authorized to speak in Israel’s name. To summarize the last few days’ events in two sentences: Israel supports Benjamin Netanyahu — the self-appointed sovereigns are against him. Israel is against [Arab MK Heba Yazbak] — the self-appointed sovereigns support her. That’s the whole story.”

The last was a reference to the attorney general’s formal opinion published on Monday that Yazbak, who has been widely accused of inciting violence against IDF soldiers, may still run for Knesset in March.

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