Mandelblit: Netanyahu Must Respond to Conflict of Interest Arrangement by Sunday

YERUSHALAYIM -
Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit ruled Thursday that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has until Sunday to respond to the draft of his conflict of interest arrangement. If Netanyahu fails to do so, it will become a permanent arrangement and he will not be permitted to involve himself in the appointment of the police commissioner and the state attorney, Mandeblit said.

Mandelblit’s opinion was written to attorney Dafna Holtz-Lechner, who represents the “Fortress of Democracy” organization, in response to her request. She has submitted many petitions against Netanyahu. According to the Attorney General’s spokesman, the prime minister was notified of this on Sunday.

Last month, Netanyahu objected to Mandelblit taking part in formulating a conflict of interest arrangement, and demanded that the decision be referred to State Comptroller Matanyahu Engelman or retired Judge Yaakov Turkel, who is familiar with the issue. At the time, Mandelblit gave Netanyahu a draft version of his legal opinion on preventing conflicts of interest for the prime minister.

Mandelblit said that the draft applies to Netanyahu’s conflicts of interest concerning appointments in the police and the law enforcement system, given his ongoing trials for bribery, fraud and breach of trust.

Mandelblit wrote that Netanyahu must not be involved in the nomination of judges or the police commissioner, as well as any other appointments that would meddle with the work of the state prosecution, the attorney general’s office, or police investigations.

Two of Netanyahu’s three cases include allegations the prime minister offered to push legislation benefiting powerful Israeli media moguls in exchange for more positive coverage in their publications.

The development came in a Justice Ministry response to the High Court of Justice, relating to a petition seeking limits on Netanyahu’s powers to make judicial appointments.