Netanyahu accuses Israel’s attorney general of politically motivated persecution after Mandelblit asks to block a 10-million-shekel donation to the prime minister’s legal defense.
By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu levied serious accusations on Twitter against Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit Tuesday night, claiming Mandelblit is part of a political conspiracy to remove him from office.
“Mandelblit’s scheme to topple the leadership is exposed in all its ugliness,” Netanyahu tweeted.
“Amazingly and shamefully, senior Justice Ministry officials today called on Prime Minister Netanyahu to resign as a condition for being able to defend himself against the baseless indictment Mandelblit tailored against him.”
“Mandelblit is trying to reverse the democratic decision of millions of citizens who chose Benjamin Netanyahu as prime minister,” he wrote.
Alternate Prime Minister Benny Gantz defended Mandelblit, tweeting, “I give full backing to the judiciary and the entire law enforcement system in Israel. They will continue to perform their job fearlessly, with professionalism and determination.”
Yesh Atid Chairman and Opposition Head Yair Lapid tweeted, “The only attempted coup is Netanyahu’s attempt to turn Israel into a dictatorship, and his criminal attempt to turn Mandelblit into a target of threats and incitement.”
Netanyahu’s statements come on the heels of a recommendation Mandelblit made on Monday to the State Comptroller to block a 10-million-shekel donation to Netanyahu’s legal defense.
Netanyahu had asked the state comptroller to approve his receipt of the funds, a gift from Michigan real estate magnate Spencer Patrich, to finance his legal defense in his ongoing trial for bribery, fraud, and breach of trust.
Mandelblit wrote to the state comptroller, “The attorney general’s position, under the circumstances, taking into account the exceptional amount in question being requested by Prime Minister Netanyahu, is that the transfer should not be allowed.”
A senior Justice Ministry official responded to Netanyahu’s statements in a conversation with Israel’s Channel 13 News.
“These are blatant lies by Netanyahu and the ministers,” the unnamed official said.
“If Netanyahu wants a 10-million-shekel gift from a friend, he can resign and then he can receive even 20 million shekels,” the official said to Channel 13 News. “This is a particularly high sum that we have no reason to approve.”
“It’s a suspicious gift.”