Netanyahu says Attorney General must not announce indictment before elections

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has urged Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit not to announce his decision on the Prime Minister’s corruption cases before the election.

In a video published yesterday, Netanyahu accused the Left and the media of: “Trying to force the attorney general to intervene crudely in the elections by summoning me to a hearing, when it is known in advance that the hearing cannot be completed by the elections”.

He added: “Having an indictment hearing is absurd if you can’t complete the hearing until the elections. It is inconceivable that the public will only get to hear one side … this is exactly why, knowing it cannot be completed until the elections, no indictment hearing was ever scheduled before elections. It also explains why the left is trying to do the opposite—their agenda is clear: to oust a prime minister by throwing a field trial and hijacking the elections from you, citizens of Israel.”

Netanyahu’s statement followed reports that the Attorney General is planning to announce his decision whether or not to indict Netanyahu before the Israeli elections on 9 April.

The Attorney General told a conference in Haifa yesterday that it is “irresponsible” to believe millions of Israelis would reject Netanyahu’s prosecution if indicted. Mandelblit said that the law enforcement system would continue to operate solely according to “one compass that guides our path — the good of the country … only the evidence will speak”.

New Opposition Chairwoman Shelly Yachimovich said that Netanyahu’s statements were no different from the statements made by any other person facing severe criminal suspicions, but as Prime Minister he holds the power to bring down with him the institutions upholding the rule of law.

A new poll from Smith Research published in The Jerusalem Post shows that 51 per cent of voters believe Netanyahu must resign before the election if he is indicted. Thirty-four per cent said he would not have to, and 15 per cent expressed no opinion or said they did not know. The poll also found that among Likud voters, 67% said he would not have to resign.