Former attorney-general Avichai Mandelblit stated that he believes the government's planned judicial reform is meant to interrupt the trials against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in an interview with Channel 12's Uvda program on Thursday.
"My evaluation and opinion is that he wants to lead to a situation in which the trial will not reach its end in a proper way," said Mandelblit to Ilana Dayan, the presenter of Uvda.
Mandelblit stressed that even if he knew when he filed the indictment against Netanyahu that the prime minister would pursue the judicial reform being planned today, he still would have filed the indictment. "There's no democracy without this indictment, that isn't Israeli democracy."
Mandelblit stated that today he feels "a lot of sadness and pain" concerning Netanyahu, but that he still "very much appreciates him."
Netanyahu's potential plea deal
When asked about a potential plea deal that was discussed with Netanyahu a few years ago, Mandelblit stressed that he couldn't get into details about the talks surrounding the attempt to reach a deal.
The former attorney-general added that he knew from the moment that he began looking into the suspicions against Netanyahu that "it would cost" him.
Mandelblit expressed disappointment at Netanyahu's decision to hold a press conference in the courthouse on the first day of the trial accusing the police and prosecutors of trying to "take him down," telling Uvda "you don't enter the courthouse and issue claims such as these inside the courthouse...and this will really be remembered with eternally with disgrace."
Despite the tensions with Netanyahu, the attorney-general continued to meet with the prime minister even after the trial began, telling Uvda that "this is part of the professionalism, both his and mine."
When Dayan pointed to the tensions as an example of why it may be a good idea to split the role of attorney-general in two, so that there would be a separate prosecutor-general and attorney-general, Mandelblit dismissed the argument, warning that such a move would be a "mistake."
"The prosecutor-general must be independent, it cannot be that the government will appoint a prosecutor-general for itself. And there are so-called democracies, they aren't democracies, there's no corruption in them. No one from the executive branch is put on trial, so there is no corruption."
Mandelblit rejected the claims of the coalition that the judicial system is acting without limits, telling Uvda that the attorney-general is the "first line of defense for democracy."
The attorney-general stressed that at the moment there is no room for compromise because the coalition wants to make it so that the judicial system isn't independent. Mandelblit warned that the reform would lead to a situation in which judicial officials are loyal to ministers and politicians and not the state.
Mandelblit warned that both sides in the argument surrounding the judicial reform haven't finished yet and that the situation would continue to deteriorate. "It will end in violence, someone will pay the price in blood."