(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit should not be handling cases involving Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, due to a conflict of interests, former prime minister Ehud Barak wrote on his Twitter account.
Mandelblit served as Netanyahu’s cabinet secretary before he became attorney-general. Barak wrote on Wednesday that his time working for the prime minister rendered him incapable of making decisions about Netanyahu, and he therefore should disqualify himself from the “expensive gift affair” (Case 1000), “newspaper collusion case” (Case 2000), and “submarine affair” (Case 3000).
Barak’s outrage stemmed from a Channel 2 report that Mandelblit had expressed concern in private conversations that the legal system could be harmed irrevocably if he decided to indict a sitting prime minister, and Netanyahu was then acquitted in court.
“The big deception has begun,” Barak said. “Has [Mandelblit] fallen on his head? Has he gotten scared? Eternal shame will hover over his head if he ignores what we all already know, and he does not let this go to trial. A spineless attorney-general is a clear recipe for the country becoming more corrupt, and Israel deteriorating into a third-world country.”
Barak noted that Mandelblit’s American counterpart, Jeff Sessions, suspended himself from dealing with the probe of President Donald Trump’s alleged ties to Russia, due to conflicts of interest.
“[Mandelblit] should suspend himself from dealing with Netanyahu’s cases due to the loss of trust in him,” Barak said. “This story is too big for his size. [Former chief justice Asher] Grunis was right to oppose his appointment.”
Barak has expressed frustration for months that Netanyahu has not been named a suspect in the submarine scandal, in which police are expected to recommend indicting two of his former advisers and lawyers, David Shomron and Yitzhak Molcho. The former prime minister frequently accuses Netanyahu of being corrupt.
The High Court of Justice has ruled that Mandelblit can serve as attorney-general and can deal with Netanyahu’s cases. Barak and Mandelblit have a long history of personal disputes.