Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife, Sara Netanyahu en route to South America, September 10, 2017..
(photo credit: AVI OHAYON - GPO)
Long before Case 4000 broke into the news, there were some strong theories that Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit would indict Sara Netanyahu but let the prime minister off the hook of his public corruption cases.
That clean middle path would make it hard to attack him either as being in the Netanyahu family’s pocket or being anti-Netanyahu.
There is still a middle path that Mandelblit may take, but it is a much worse deal for Netanyahu: indicting Sara and indicting the prime minister in Cases 4000 (Bezeq-Walla) and 1000 (gifts), and closing Case 2000 (Yediyot Aharonot) against the prime minister.
In this new constellation, rather than an indictment of Sara shielding him from having to indict her husband, indicting her likely makes it easier to indict the premier.
All suspects should be treated equally – but indicting a prime minister, which can cause the government to fall, is different than indicting anyone else.
Mandelblit has explicitly indicated that he would not indict the prime minister without the most airtight of cases. And Mandelblit owes the prime minister his quick ascent to attorney-general. He would not likely have gotten that post so soon after finishing his career as the IDF’s chief lawyer if he had not served as Netanyahu’s cabinet secretary and had his support.
The attorney-general has been clear that he would indict the prime minister if the evidence was a super slam dunk. But Mandelblit had a clear desire not to blow up the relationship unless he had no choice.
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While evidence is still a concern for Mandelblit, his relationship with the Netanyahus has already long blown up.
To emphasize that he was never beholden to Netanyahu merely because he worked for him, Mandelblit is fond of saying he never once came to their personal residence in Caesarea. It is now safe to say he does not need to wait for any future invitation.
With the bridge between him and the Netanyahu family now officially burned, there is nothing to stop him from indicting the prime minister.
As The Jerusalem Post
reported last week, Mandelblit views the evidence against the prime minister in Case 4000 as overwhelming.
And if Mandelblit was worried about public outcry for going after the first family, now with Sara’s indictment, the first family has already been lowered from its pedestal. No one can attack the police anymore and say that the “grown-up” attorney-general will save the Netanyahu family from biased law enforcement.
Finally, if you want to view Mandelblit from a self-interest perspective, Netanyahu is his past, but a seat on the Supreme Court is his future. Netanyahu has not exactly earned popularity with the supremes and Mandelblit might very well advance his future candidacy by being viewed as courageous enough to indict both Sara and the prime minister.
The prime minister may still get a discount in the form of Case 2000 being dropped from his ledger, but Sara is now on her way to court – with an indictment announcement against the prime minister likely not more than half-a-year behind.
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