Retiring state attorney: If our office falls, 'everything will crumble'

In an interview with Channel 12, Shai Nitzan spoke about Netanyahu's cases, Justice Minister Amir Ohana snubbing him and the justice system's public approval crisis.

State Attorney Shay Nitzan   (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
State Attorney Shay Nitzan
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Retiring State Attorney Shai Nitzan gave an interview on Channel 12's Friday Panel. Nitzan's term is coming to an end facing harsh criticism, corruption allegations and calls for an investigation: "In a democracy, you go to prison if you commit a crime, are charged and found guilty. In other regimes, you go to prison if someone decides so, as it used to be in South America."

Nitzan also responded to comments on the Internet, saying that his "experience shows that it is far easier to criticize a person rather than [criticize his views and actions] – to point at a single person [and make him or her the target]. If one has claims that nothing [wrong] has been done, he may as well adhere to that. This is not my personal opinion. A team of 25 people whose political views I do not know sat and decided to indict [Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu]."

He also responded to Netanyahu's supporters, who claim he has 'set him up': "Did I initiate the conversations between Noni [Moses] and the Prime Minister? There is no debate over whether these conversations took place. What do you mean by setting [him] up? In [MK Eitan] Kabel's case, for instance, there was no evidence a crime [was committed]. You need to read the testimonies. [Imagine being] a doctor, and two patients came who were pale and sweaty, and one you did operate on and the other you did not." 

"Also, how can they claim that the prime minister is being set up, while in the Submarines Affair [Case 3000], we did not even find ground for an interrogation, despite heavy pressure [from the public]?" Nitzan asked. "There was no evidence that would rationalize investigating Netanyahu in that case."

Speaking about Justice Minister Amir Ohana, Nitzan said that he "did not invite me and did not speak to me; he has not said a word to me besides 'hello' in the stairwell. I do not know of any other situation as such, and I have been in office for over 30 years. I was in shock. I knew he wouldn't be happy, but if he has any allegations toward the State Attorney's Office, the most natural thing [for him to do] is to call me and ask."

Nitzan also spoke about the issue of leaks: "I know my people and trust them. As far as I'm concerned, none of them leak material from our investigations. There are way worse leaks than ones from questionings, such as a classified [IDF] slide show that was leaked from the cabinet during Operation Protective Edge. [When it happened,] I did not hear the ministers screaming that we should take a lie detector test."

Finally, the retiring state attorney expressed his concern about the future: "I am afraid that there are many players who want to ruin the system. In my opinion, the issue of low public trust in the justice system has to do with the fact that we decided to investigate higher-ranking officials. It seems that Netanyahu's power and popularity are different than those of other officials we had investigated. Many of the reasons for the destabilization of the public are constant attacks that are unfair and untrue." 

"If they succeed in crashing the State Attorney's Office, God forbid, everything will crumble."