Israeli High Court Rejects Appeals Over Attorney General's Handling of Netanyahu Cases

Justices say they see no conflict of interests between Netanyahu and Avichai Mendelblit, who previously served as cabinet secretary.

Benjamin Netanyahu and Avichai Mendelblit, 2015.
Marc Israel Sellem

The High Court of Justice on Thursday rejected the appeals relating to the attorney general’s handling of the cases involving Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Zionist Union MK Erel Margalit, political activist Eldad Yaniv, The Movement for Quality Government and attorney David Levy had filed several petitions: to move from an “examination” to an “investigation” of the Netanyahu cases, as has since occurred; to investigate the prime minister in the submarine deal affair, in which he is not a suspect at this stage; and for the attorney general, Avichai Mendelblit, to be disqualified from dealing with these cases, on the grounds that his previous role as cabinet secretary puts him in a position of a conflict of interest.

Justices Elyakim Rubinstein, Anat Baron and Uzi Vogelman wrote: “Most of the issues raised in the petitions are currently being investigated, and it is the duty of law enforcement headed by the attorney general, to explain their decisions, whether it be to bring someone to trial or to close cases, once investigations are complete.”

Regarding the submarine deal case, the justices added, “All relevant matters will be investigated as needed Even if it was previously stated that there were no suspicions concerning such-and-such a person, if that should change – they would be investigated.”

Regarding the conflict of interest claim, the justices cited the ruling made in the rejection of a petition against Mendelblit’s appointment as attorney general, saying they found nothing to support that argument in this instance either.

The justices noted that “some of the petitions are coming from political figures in the opposition,” adding that they did not wish to lend a hand “to the delegitimization of the law-enforcement system, which has a long history of acting with integrity. It is not immune from criticism however.”

Margalit said in response to the ruling: “Whoever was supposed to get the hint, got the hint. The law enforcement authorities won’t have a choice There will be an investigation against the prime minister in the submarine affair. The public battle will continue until we ensure that security and corruption don’t go together.”