Netanyahu trial: Chief prosecutor says she won't quit

Earlier this week, reports were claiming that Deputy State Attorney Liat Ben Ari intended on resigning.

 Liat Ben Ari attends a farewell ceremony held for outgoing Israeli state prosecutor Shai Nitzan in Jerusalem, on December 18, 2019 (photo credit: OLIVIER FITOUSSI/FLASH90)
Liat Ben Ari attends a farewell ceremony held for outgoing Israeli state prosecutor Shai Nitzan in Jerusalem, on December 18, 2019
(photo credit: OLIVIER FITOUSSI/FLASH90)

Deputy State Attorney Liat Ben Ari, the lead in the prosecution team in the public corruption trial of Benjamin Netanyahu, on Thursday made clear that she has no intention of resigning despite rumors earlier this week that she was planning to step down.

On Sunday, Globes reported that Ben Ari was considering retiring and had consulted with colleagues about the matter.

In the article and subsequent reports, the implication was that along with a nearing seniority point where most of her colleagues of a similar level have retired, or are considering doing so, Ben Ari had become fed up with the public incitement against her and her family.

Incitement and threats against Ben Ari

Since being one of the key people in presenting charges in the trial against Netanyahu going back more than four years, Ben Ari has faced increasing amounts of incitement and threats to herself and to at least one of her children.

 BENJAMIN NETANYAHU arrives at the Jerusalem District Court for a hearing in his trial, in May. The writer asks: What will Netanyahu need to concede in exchange for his get-out-of-jail-free card? (credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90) BENJAMIN NETANYAHU arrives at the Jerusalem District Court for a hearing in his trial, in May. The writer asks: What will Netanyahu need to concede in exchange for his get-out-of-jail-free card? (credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90)

On Thursday, state prosecution union chairwoman Orit Koren informed on Ben Ari’s plans as a hearing was about to begin at Tel Aviv Magistrates’ Court on the Justice Ministry’s petition that the court order certain allegedly harassing online posts be removed.

Following a motion filed by the ministry the court ordered Orly Lev, who posted the allegedly harassing posts, to remove posts she had published and to stop issuing future posts against Ben Ari.

According to the ministry’s motion, Lev had previously ignored court orders not to incite against Ben Ari.

Koren quoted Ben Ari as saying, “I will not surrender to threats and to the incitement campaign against me and against my family. I will continue in my position and my only thought is to the law and to doing my job.”

Moreover, Koren said that she would use all of the tools at her disposal to support and defend Ben Ari against harassment.

Besides the civil case to block the posts in question, the state prosecution also filed indictments against four defendants regarding their actions against Ben Ari.

In addition to Ben Ari, threats have been issued in recent years against former police chief Roni Alsheich, former state attorney Shai Nitzan, former attorney-general Avichai Mandelblit and other members of the prosecution team against Netanyahu.

Many of the prosecution officials have also been appointed security details to protect them following the threats against them.

Ben Ari was also the lead lawyer against former prime minister Ehud Olmert in the Holyland trial, but the level of incitement against her and her team a decade ago did not reach anywhere near the same levels, even though Olmert and his supporters did lash out against the prosecution from time to time.