Benjamin Netanyahu addressing Avichai Mandelblit's formal announcement to move tho indict NEtanyahu or not before the April 9, 2019 elections..
(photo credit: screenshot)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu struck back today at the formal announcement given by Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit on Friday, that he will call Netanyahu for a preindictment hearing before the upcoming April 9th election.
Though there have been leaks to this effect, this was the first time that Mandelblit himself confirmed it, rejecting a request by Netanyahu's lawyers to delay the decision. Some polls have suggested that the announcement could have a decisive electoral impact on Netanyahu and the Likud, while others have suggested the impact will be minimal. Mandelblit claims the decision to move forward to indict or no indict Netanyahu is coming before the elections because if it didn't then it would be showing unfair bias in favor of Netanyahu.
"The attorney general seems to have succumbed to pressure from the Left and the media. They press want to indict me at all costs, even when there is nothing [they can prove], as long as it happens before the elections," the prime minister said in a video on his official Facebook page moments before Shabbat.
Mandelblit said that chronologically-speaking, his prosecution team first publicly announced that it was beginning its final meetings to make a decision in the public-corruption cases, and that only after that announcement did Netanyahu decide to call early elections.
Accordingly, he said it would be inappropriate to appear to delay the decision about the prime minister's public corruption cases under pressure from Netanyahu.
Responses to the video from opposition political parties arrived swiftly.
"As deep as is the hysteria and panic, such is the rate of issuing incitement videos against the Attorney General," said Knesset Chairman of the Opposition Shelly Yachimovich in a statement.
"When will the video get to the part where the Prime Minister fights for the citizens of Israel and not only for his survival?" read a separate statement from the Yesh Atid Party.
Netanyahu's spokesman has continually blasted the idea that Mandelblit would determine the prime minister's public corruption probes fate pre-election.
His lawyers sent the media a letter to Mandelblit demanding that 66 additional witnesses be interviewed - which would require delaying the attorney-general's decision.
The attorney-general has said that all relevant witnesses have been questioned since the criminal probe opened in late 2016.
Mandelblit is expected to announce an intent to file an indictment against Netanyahu for bribery in Case 4000, the Bezeq-Walla! Affair. He is also expected to seek an indictment against the prime minister for breach of public trust in Case 1000, the Illegal Gifts Affair.
Netanyahu continued to explain the consequences this type of indictment could have on the future of the State, claiming that such a decision before an election could easily help the Left rise to power.
"Even if Mandelblit wanted to, he would not have the time to read all the materials collected during the investigations," Netanyahu claims sourcing information given to him by State officials, "He makes do with reading summaries and opinions of the State Attorney's Office. It's absurd."
"One can only hope that the left's pressure will not work again, when the consultant will be asked whether two and a half articles on the Internet are bribes. Just ridiculous. In any case, I am certain of my righteousness and I am certain that the truth will come to light," Netanyahu concluded.
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