Right-wing bloc pushes support for Netanyahu: Innocent until proven guilty

Katz stressed that even Likud's political rivals should internalize that as long as there is no legal decision disqualifying Netanyahu as prime minister, he is permitted to continue in his position.

PM Benjamin Netanyahu with leaders of the right-wing bloc, Nov. 2019 (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
PM Benjamin Netanyahu with leaders of the right-wing bloc, Nov. 2019
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Foreign Minister Israel Katz and other members of the right-wing bloc expressed support for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu after his indictment on Friday.
"Israel is a lawful state and the presumption of innocence applies for every person, especially for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, an Israeli patriot, who sacrificed and acted all his life for the security of the State of Israel and the strengthening of its position in the world," said Katz. 
The foreign minister stressed that even Likud's political rivals should internalize that as long as there is no legal decision disqualifying Netanyahu as prime minister, he is permitted to continue in his position.
Katz added that "only the public and their representatives in the Knesset are the ones who control in a democratic way who leads the State of Israel in this challenging and risky period."
National Union MK Bezalel Smotrich warned in a tweet on Friday that if the people of Israel don't take to the streets and don't give "political power to the one who will prevent this legal crisis," then they will "wake up very quickly to an overpowering, violent and dangerous judicial dictatorship."
Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely expressed support for Netanyahu in this "difficult time." 
"The national camp knows that the great achievements that he achieved in these years are the fruit of his great efforts to act with the help of his many talents and all his power for the sake of the success of the state," tweeted Hotovely. "I hope for him that the truth and justice come to light quickly."
Likud MK Ofir Akunis quoted Menachem Begin in a Facebook post, saying "In our state, justice will be the supreme ruler - the ruler of her rulers as well."
"The meaning of these deep words is that in Israel no person is above the law and no person is under the law. Everyone is equal before it," wrote Akunis, stressing that Netanyahu has not been convicted yet and that he is innocent until proven guilty before a court of law.
"This applies to every citizen. This even applies to Benjamin Netanyahu," added Akunis. "From knowing him for a period of almost 25 years, that has seen rises and falls, I strengthen the hands of the prime minister in these days and value, even more, his contribution of many years to the state of Israel, to strengthen its security and restore its economy."
MK Miki Zohar assured his "friends on the right" that they needn't worry and would see that Israel won't abandon its prime minister.
"With the help of G-d, we will exit [this] stronger, victorious and continue to receive the trust of the public in order to continue to lead our country in security, economy and unprecedented international relations. I thank the prime minister for his steadfastness before all the evil and lies," tweeted Zohar. "Bibi (Netanyahu's nickname), we're with you!"
MK Keti Shitrit also stressed that Netanyahu is innocent until proven guilty and that he had contributed much to the State of Israel. 
"He dedicated his life for the safety and prosperity of the country," tweeted Shitrit. "This is the time to strengthen the prime minister and to be sure of his rightness."
Culture and Sports Minister Miri Regev made a list of all the reasons that today is a sad day, mentioning how many people love "the man who dedicated his life to Israel for 50 years" and lamenting that the justice system decided to start a legal precedent with the prime minister. Regev called the indictment "selective enforcement against the prime minister" and reaffirmed her belief in Netanyahu and stressed that she is sure that the sadness will make a place for a "fight for justice."
Education Minister and head of the Bayit Yehudi party Rafi Peretz stressed how Netanyahu has worked night and day for Israel as a soldier, officer, minister and prime minister. "I've seen this dedication with my own eyes in recent months," said Peretz, adding that Netanyahu has the same assumption of innocence until proven guilty as every other person?
Justice Minister Amir Ohana stated that he is proud to stand by Netanyahu, who "is not guilty, because that is what the law states and because this is our legal system," stressing that a court must first prove that Netanyahu is guilty and that this is not decided in studios, social networks or even by the attorney general.
Ohana affirmed that there is no "shadow of a doubt" that Netanyahu "is not a corrupt person," pointing out that he has given his best years to the State of Israel. "I am very proud to stand by him in this moment, that is undoubtedly a difficult moment...and I am absolutely sure that the judgement of history will prove that this was the right place to stand," said Ohana.
A protest will be held on Tuesday at 8 p.m. to "guard the state" and "stop the government coup," next to the Tel Aviv Museum.
Likud MK and Deputy Security Minister Avi Dichter also stressed that Netanyahu is innocent until proven guilty and pointed out Netanyahu's achievements for the State of Israel.
The United Torah Judaism party wished Netanyahu luck with the cases against him and stressed that he is innocent until proven guilty and should be allowed to continue to serve as prime minister until a final legal decision is made.
New Right leader Ayelet Shaked stated that today was a sad and not simple day for the State of Israel, but stressed that Mandelblit's decisions were based on evidence and that "even if we don't agree with him, we need to know that his motives are professional."
Shaked added that she had heard many commentators say that Netanyahu could not receive the mandate to form the government and clarified that decision of who to give the mandate to belongs to the members of Knesset alone and that the president and High Court of Justice are not considered in the matter.

The attorney-general indicted Netanyahu for bribery, fraud and breach of trust in Case 4000, the Bezeq-Walla Affair; for fraud and breach of trust in Case 1000, the Illegal Gifts Affair; and for fraud and breach of trust in Case 2000, the Yediot Ahronot-Israel Hayom Affair.
An hour after the announcement of the indictment, Netanyahu addressed the nation from his residence and said that while he has “great respect” for the country’s judicial system, “something not good is happening to the police investigators and the state-attorney’s office.”
Yonah Jeremy Bob contributed to this report.