Ahead of Netanyahu Indictment, Likud Slams Top Court for 'Letting Left Meddle in Election'

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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Ramat Gan, February 21, 2019
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Ramat Gan, February 21, 2019Credit: AFP

Israel's High Court rejected on Thursday the Likud party's petition stop Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit from announcing his decision on whether to charge Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the three criminal investigations pending against him, subject to a hearing.

Responding to the court's decision, Likud said, "It’s regrettable that the High Court did not prevent the left’s blatant intervention in the election."

In its petition, Likud said that "the attorney general's announcement that he intends to publish today his decision is the result of pressure by leftist bullies in the past three years with the intention of bringing the downfall of the right-wing government and win the election, but not through the ballot boxes."

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Likud said Mendelblit's intention to publish his decision is "unprecedented in the legal history of Israel and is a blatant intervention in the election."

Publication of the AG's decision, the petition says, would result in less votes for the right-wing bloc "even though this decision could be completely reversed after the hearing which is scheduled for after the elections." This, the Likud said, "would be too late for the parties who would lose representation in the Knesset or posts in the next government, as a direct result of this publication."

In Case 4000, in which Netanyahu is suspected of providing regulatory concessions to Shaul Elovitch, the controlling shareholder of Bezeq telecommunications, in exchange for favorable coverage from Bezeq’s news website, Walla, Mendelblit is expected to announce an indictment for bribery, fraud and breach of trust.

In Case 1000, in which the prime minister is alleged to have accepted gifts from wealthy business figures in violation of the law, the PM is expected to be charged with fraud and breach of trust.

Charges are also expected to be filed in Case 2000, which centers on negotiations between the prime minister and Arnon Mozes, the publisher of the Yedioth Ahronoth daily, allegedly involving limiting the circulation of the rival Yisrael Hayom daily in exchange for favorable coverage for the prime minister. It is not yet clear what charges Mendelblit will file against the prime minister for that case. Mendelblit is also expected to announce plans to charge Mozes in that case.