Netanyahu enlists public against attorney general to delay pre-indictment hearing

As Israel’s Attorney General reportedly prepares to summon Netanyahu to a hearing, the prime minister insists that starting one before the elections is a mistake. 

By World Israel News Staff

With Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit reportedly preparing to summon Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to a pre-indictment hearing, Netanyahu insisted Saturday that he must postpone the hearing process until after the upcoming elections.

Meanwhile, Haaretz reported that Mandelblit is expected to make a decision on whether to charge Netanyahu in the three criminal investigations pending against the prime minister before the April 9 Knesset elections and will announce his decision next month.

The prime minister turned to social media in order to place pressure on Mandeblit to wait until after the elections, posting to Facebook a video of himself telling a joke about a man who walked down the street in a Middle Eastern country, with his right arm severed and an artificial arm sewn on to the stump.

“What happened?” the man is asked, Netanyahu says. Pointing to the artificial arm, the man explains that a lower court convicted him of stealing, and (pointing to the stitches) a higher court then acquitted him.

Just as that man cannot get his arm back, Netanyahu said, the Israeli people will not be able to get their election back if Mandelblit interferes through legal means. Netanyahu called on viewers to share the video on social networks.

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The attorney general himself declined to comment on when he would make a decision, saying only: “It’s no secret that we’re trying to work as quickly as possible.” But he added that the decision would “in no way [come] at the expense of professionalism.”

A former vice president of the Supreme Court attacked Netanyahu Sunday over the video.

“I cannot recall any time in my entire career such statements against law enforcement by anyone other than heads of crime organizations,” the former justice, Eliyahu Matza, told Israel Radio.

“I felt ashamed for him. Because he’s not ashamed,” Matza said.

The prime minister “absolutely must not make comments like these that are no less than incitement against the attorney general and law enforcement agencies. It’s just incitement, in the criminal sense of the word,” Matza added.

Likud MK David Amsalem came under fire this week after he warned that “millions of people would take to the streets” if the attorney general publishes his decision on Netanyahu before the elections.

“For three years, the police and prosecution have been hounding the Prime Minister and hunting him down,” he told Ynet news.

“Instead of looking into what is going on inside these organizations and investigating them, when the prime minister defends himself, you [Israel’s mainstream media] claim that he is attacking them. Everything here is weird, everything is upside down,” Amsalem said.