'Incitement Won't Deter' Prosecutor in Netanyahu Corruption Trial, Attorney General Says

Speaking at a conference held by newspaper affiliated with the settler right, Mendelblit says 'it's concerning' to see Liat Ben-Ari assigned security detail

Netael Bandel
Netael Bandel
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Liat Ben-Ari, chief prosecutor in Netanyahu's corruption trial, with the security detail assigned to her last year.
Liat Ben-Ari, chief prosecutor in Netanyahu's corruption trial, with the security detail assigned to her last year. Credit: Ohad Zwigenberg
Netael Bandel
Netael Bandel

Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit said on Wednesday that assigning a security detail to the chief prosecutor in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s corruption trial is "worrying," but added, “Incitement won’t deter us.”

Speaking at a conference held by the weekly BeSheva newspaper, affiliated with Israel's settler right, Mendelblit said: "Criticism is okay, [but] incitement and seeing Chief Prosecutor Liat Ben-Ari walking around with security while inappropriate remarks are being made at her is very concerning."

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"But this will not deter her or me. We'll continue protecting the rule of law in Israel," the attorney general added.

On Monday, Netanyahu attended the second court hearing in his corruption trial and pleaded not guilty.

Netanyahu, who is charged with bribery, fraud and breach of trust in three cases, confirmed the written answer his defense team submitted to the court on his behalf in January, arguing he was not guilty in all the charges against him. 

The Justice Ministry decided last year to assign a security detail to Ben-Ari, just before Netanyahu's trial opened in May 2020.

Ben-Ari – who had been assigned a security detail before – arrived at the court accompanied by bodyguards. The move came following a recommendation from Israel Police and after security officials expressed concerns that demonstrators in front of the court will try to hurl objects at Ben-Ari or her aides.

In 2018, Haaretz reported that security personnel searched Ben-Ari’s house and decided to “keep an eye on her,” fearing that attempts will be made to obtain information about investigations she was involved in, including those of Netanyahu. Ben-Ari told her colleagues that she felt she was being followed and that her phone was tapped.