Get on with it

Living under the constant shadow of police investigations and possible indictment means the sun is always blocked. Israelis deserve to have sun shine down on their country and into their lives.

August 6, 2017 21:22
3 minute read.
Netanyahu en route to a security cabinet meeting, August 2017

Prime Minister Netanyahu enters a meeting of the security cabinet, August 2017. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)


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With the news over the weekend that Ari Harow, former chief of staff for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, signed a state’s witness deal with the Israel Police, the probes which the police are conducting against the premier have entered a new, more accelerated phase.

Harow’s testimony is expected to shed light and perhaps provide incriminating material on three police cases involving Netanyahu: Case 1000 (the “Gifts Affair”); Case 2000 (the “Israel Hayom Affair”); and Case 3000 – in which the prime minister is not currently a suspect – (the “Submarine Affair”).

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Harow’s motives at this point are not entirely relevant.

Whether or not he should be considered a hero for exposing alleged corruption emanating from the top office in the land, or simply a scared former bureaucrat willing to squeal to avoid going to prison, the importance of state witness deal cannot be underestimated.

It’s a positive development – not because it will almost certainly result in an indictment being issued against Netanyahu, as many reports on the issue made clear over the weekend – it’s positive because it will expedite the investigation and bring it to a close, one way or the other.

A court document released last week has already revealed that the police were investigating Netanyahu on suspicion of bribery, fraud and breach of trust.

As Herb Keinon pointed out in Sunday’s Jerusalem Post, previous scandals like “Bibi Tours” and cases involving his finances and alleged misbehavior of his wife, Sara, all fell by the wayside. But this time, due to Harow’s testimony, things could easily turn out differently.

It is up to the police to investigate the charges against Netanyahu and provide their recommendations on whether to indict to Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit. Then it is up to Mandelblit to decide whether to accept the police recommendations.

It is of the utmost importance that this process is conducted thoroughly, yet as speedily as possible.

The country has recently endured the ugly sight of not one, but two of its top officials – former prime minister Ehud Olmert and former president Moshe Katsav – being convicted and sentenced to substantial prison terms.

The last thing Israel needs is a long, drawn-out probe that throws the country into limbo, inhibits the ability of the prime minister to efficiently lead and creates political turmoil.

There are too many vital issues at hand that require a strong leader who is not distracted by meetings with lawyers, planning defense strategies and focusing on simply surviving in office.

Israel’s relationship with the Palestinian Authority has rarely been as antagonistic, and it’s been proven that it only takes one incident to ignite Palestinian terrorism against Israel. Ties with Jordan are also at a nadir, due to Netanyahu’s mishandling of the crisis involving the shooting by an Israeli security guard at the Israel Embassy in Amman. And there’s an endless list of ongoing issues that demand the full-time attention of a prime minister and his cabinet.

Ministers and MKs have expressed different opinions about whether Netanyahu should resign from his position if an indictment is handed down; it will be difficult for the prime minister to avoid the intense pressure to do so if that eventuality unfolds. Olmert resigned before he was indicted, but it’s unlikely that Netanyahu would opt for the same path. Through his office, he has continued to reject all claims against him, repeating the mantra: “There will be nothing because there was nothing.”

The sooner the police ascertain if that is true, or if indeed there really is ‘something’ against Netanyahu, the better off we all will be. And if the state witness deal with Ari Harow moves that process into warp speed, then it’s doing a great service.

Living under the constant shadow of police investigations and possible indictment means the sun is always blocked. Israelis deserve to have sun shine down on their country and into their lives, and removing the specter of a corrupt leader – or removing the leader if he is found to be corrupt – is a necessity.

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