Analysis

For Netanyahu, Now Even Israel's Right-wing Police Chief Is 'Leftist'

With police about to complete several investigations into PM and transfer material to prosecution for decision on whether to indict, Israel's serial suspect launched unbridled attack Saturday night

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Police Chief Roni Alsheich, 2015.
Chaim Zach / GPO

The end of the fall’s Jewish holidays and the Knesset’s return for the start of its winter session next week symbolize the start of a new season – the hunting season. The target this time is the police brass.

With the police about to complete several investigations into the prime minister and transfer the material to the prosecution for a decision on whether to indict, serial suspect Benjamin Netanyahu launched an unbridled – some say unprecedented – attack on Police Commissioner Roni Alsheich Saturday night. The hunter rose up and fired off his Facebook post.

By painting the police commissioner as a collaborator with the left (see also his mention of strategic consultant Lior Horev, a former head of the Labor Party’s youth wing who is currently employed by the police), Netanyahu sent a signal to the next people in the food chain, namely the state prosecutor and the attorney general. And after them come the judges.

>> All the scandals involving Netanyahu, and where they stand <<

Anyone who touches the hot potato known as the Netanyahu investigations will be dealt with personally by the chief hunter and his docile troop in the cabinet and Knesset. This gang’s ammo pack has enough mud for everyone.

The Knesset’s winter session, which lasts about five months, will be marked by an attempt to undermine the police’s credibility. One of Netanyahu’s subcontractors in his party, MK David Amsalem, is sponsoring various bills whose goal is to intimidate the police on one hand, and to try to ensure that Netanyahu can’t be put on trial as long as he’s prime minister on the other. Lest there be any doubt, the suspect is the person behind these moves.

Netanyahu expects the police to announce toward the end of this year that they have enough evidence to indict him in either Case 1000, Case 2000 or both. He seeks to deter the investigators and their superior in order to thwart the expected announcement, which is liable to make things difficult for him politically. Perhaps he has heard what the leader of one party in the governing coalition said recently in a private conversation – that a police recommendation to indict Netanyahu could be a political “game changer.”

Netanyahu, the robbed Cossack, is shooting and crying. While targeting Alsheich, whom he appointed, he’s also complaining about a police “witch hunt” against him in the form of leaks about the investigation. He even accused the police commissioner of this.

Incidentally, in the same foul breath in which it accused the police commissioner of collaborating with a leftist, a website close to Netanyahu claimed that Alsheich was feeling his way toward the leadership of the Habayit Hayehudi party. He’s both a leftist and a rightist.

The assault on the police chief by Netanyahu and his party was greeted with indifference by his coalition partners. They’re already used to Netanyahu’s anger attacks, which frequently erupt after a “quiet” weekend at home in the bosom of his family. All the ministers kept mum, except Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan, who published a statement of support for Alsheich while also demanding that the leakers be caught (as if Erdan didn’t know that leaks about the investigation can come from many sources).

Credit is due to several Knesset members from the Kulanu party who came out against Netanyahu’s statements, first and foremost Merav Ben Ari, Rachel Azaria and Roy Folkman. Their party chairman, Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon, kept silent. But given the way the party operates, one can assume he wasn’t surprised by their comments.

On Sunday, at the end of another fruitful day in office, Netanyahu’s Twitter account celebrated the government’s decision to set up a parliamentary inquiry committee “to investigate the issue of foreign governments’ funding of organizations that work against Israel Defense Forces soldiers” (or in short, to investigate the left). “We will put an end to this,” the McCarthy of Balfour Street boasted. It’s nice to know there are some investigations he has no problem with.