Avichai Mandelblit and his power to alter the country's destiny

#12: Avichai Mandelblit

Avichai Mandelblit (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Avichai Mandelblit
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
The position of attorney-general is always a crucial one, but Avichai Mandelblit has already altered the country’s destiny and within the next two months will likely issue the first ever indictment against one of its sitting prime minister.
Debates surrounding these cases dominated the two rounds of elections and played a large role in preventing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu from forming a government after the April election, given his weakened stature in coalition negotiations.

Mandelblit is holding pre-indictment hearings for Netanyahu right after Rosh Hashanah and is expected to make a final decision by December.
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In a made-for-TV irony, it appears that the man who was accused by some of being too close to Netanyahu to be appointed attorney-general – because he served as his cabinet secretary – will be the same man who brings the prime minister’s more than decade in power to a disgraceful end.
In June 2018, The Jerusalem Post reported exclusively that by the end of 2018 or early in 2019, Mandelblit would announce an intention to indict Netanyahu for bribery, at least in Case 4000, the “Bezeq-Walla Affair.”
In that case, Netanyahu is suspected of having used his power to impact policy, to greatly enhance Bezeq profits in return for positive coverage from the Walla media outlet. Both Bezeq and Walla were owned by Shaul Elovitch.
While Mandelblit, unlike his predecessor Yehuda Weinstein, originally did not intend to publish his decision about the prime minister before the next election, once the state prosecution announced it was close to a decision, he pushed it through – even after Netanyahu announced early elections in an attempt to head off the decision.
Sources close to Mandelblit had made it clear that he was ready to indict the prime minister, but preferred to help him find a way to leave office with dignity – that is, until the Netanyahu essentially declared war on both the attorney-general and the prosecution.
A deal may no longer be on the table, even though it still cannot be totally ruled out, following Mandelblit granting a plea bargain – perceived as lenient – to Sara Netanyahu (she did need to accept criminal responsibility).
Even if the fate of the prime minister had not been in Mandelblit’s hands, he has still heavily impacted nearly every major legislative effort that came through during his term.
Mandelblit has helped block the Likud’s cameras bill, a push to transform the judiciary into being more dependent on the political class and other efforts.
At the same time, he helped achieve significant changes in the Jewish Nation-State Law, which may help it survive a pending challenge before the High Court of Justice.