Israeli Justice Ministry: Early Elections Won't Affect Netanyahu Corruption Cases

Ministry says the investigation is an 'orderly and professional process that functions independently of political events' ■ Elections to be held April 9

Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit speaks at Bar Ilan University, Ramat Gan, November 28, 2018.
Meged Gozani

The decision to hold early elections isn’t expected to affect probes involving suspected corruption of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the Justice Ministry said Monday. 

A statement by the ministry spokesperson said: “The work process on the investigation files regarding the prime minister will continue as planned. It’s an orderly and professional process that functions independently of political events.”

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Law enforcement authorities will operate according to the attorney general’s instructions as to how to proceed with “prosecution and enforcement policy before Knesset and local authority elections,” said the statement. “Any other report is solely speculation, in light of the fact that it is not yet known when the work on these files will be completed.” 

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Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit meanwhile said: "I am a professional. I am not a political man and I don't intend to consider whether there are elections or not, that isn't my job. I am working to make the best possible decision for the State of Israel. That is my obligation."

Mendelblit's office estimated earlier this week that the investigation will be completed by the Passover holiday, which falls on April 19. However, sources in the attorney general's office said that the office is not committed to that deadline, and results are unlikely to be announced before the elections.

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Last week, the team of prosecutors for taxation and economics recommended charging Netanyahu for bribery in cases 2000 and 4000. Prosecutors are also leaning toward indicting him for breach of trust in case 1000. State Prosecutor Shai Nitzan will submit an opinion to Mendelblit in the course of discussions held on these cases.

The recommendations that have been issued are in addition to those previously released by the police regarding the same cases.

On Monday afternoon, coalition parties decided to dissolve the Knesset and hold elections on April 9. In a joint statement, party leaders said that the decision had been made unanimously “based on national and budgetary responsibility” and that “Knesset and government cooperation would continue through the election period.”