Yair Lapid, co-leader of the Blue and White Party, called on Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit to cancel the pre-indictment hearing for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, according to a report from Walla! news.
"[Netanyahu] doesn't deserve a hearing, no one owes him a hearing," said Lapid at a press conference, at which he appeared without his political partner and head of the Blue and White faction, Benny Gantz. "There isn't a single suspect in the country who would act like that and still get one."
Lapid continued, "The Prime Minister’s lawyers are demeaning the prosecution, demeaning the attorney-general... [Mandelblit] has the complete authority to cancel the hearing and he should use it. Otherwise it looks like the prosecution is afraid of the suspects."
Lapid criticized an incident on Sunday in which the attorney-general’s office tried to deliver materials from the corruption investigations regarding Netanyahu to the prime minister’s legal defense team, but the team refused to accept them.
The refusal by the defense to receive the materials raised eyebrows in Israel, and the move was interpreted as extreme stonewalling by Netanyahu of the investigations against him.
However, the defense team charged that the official who brought the materials was instructed by the attorney-general’s office to deliver them to Netanyahu’s lawyer Navot Tel Tzur in person. When he realized Tzur was not present in his office at the time, the official left and took the materials with him.
On Monday, reports circulated that the Likud Party aimed to advance a bill to eliminate the ability of the High Court to cancel laws passed by the Knesset. This includes a proposed law to provide legal immunity for elected officials.
Likud denied the reports, and Netanyahu's spokesman called them "sensationalist media reports that include proposals that were not discussed," and "biased and misleading interpretations meant to prevent any attempt to bring back the balance between the legislative branch."
Despite the denials, some were furious at what they saw as an attempt by Netanyahu to grant himself immunity from prosecution and thus avoid the impending indictments from the attorney-general.
Lahav Harkov contributed to this report.