Likud Expecting Netanyahu Indictment Announcement on Tuesday

Likud officials have received information that the premier will be charged within four days and seek to stage a mass protest in front of the attorney general's home

Netanyahu's supporters demonstrate in front of Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit's home in Petah Tikva, October 2019.
Moti Milrod

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud party is preparing for the prospect that the premier will be indicted on Tuesday.

Likud officials have received information that Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit will be announcing the filing of the indictment within four days, or at the very latest prior to a prosecutors' conference in Eilat scheduled for November 26.

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The party is now planning a public relations effort to scuttle public demands for the prime minister to be declared incapacitated and take an immediate leave of absence if an indictment is filed.

As part of its efforts, Likud seeks to stage a joint demonstration with the right-wing Im Tirtzu NGO near Mendelblit's Petah Tikva home on Monday evening to express support for the prime minister.

Party officials believe that thousands would turn out for the demonstration but at this point the police are not permitting such a protest to take place on Monday.

After many similar demonstrations in front of Mendelblit's house, the police have moved protests to a nearby location and limited such gatherings to Tuesdays and Saturdays.

"Anyone for whom Israeli democracy is dear must turn up at this point in time on Netanyahu's side," said Im Tirtzu director Matan Peleg.

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Referring to the three pending graft cases against the prime minister, Peleg said the cases are tainted by "numerous failings" and border on "moral "corruption."

Peleg called for the convening of an official independent panel to examine the conduct of the investigations.

In February, Mendelblit recommended that Netanyahu be indicted for fraud and breach of trust in cases 1000 and 2000, and bribery and breach of trust on Case 4000, pending a hearing. Mendelblit did so after consulting with more than 20 senior legal officials who scrutinized the evidence in the cases, some of which were under investigation for more than three years.

In October, Netanyahu's four-day pre-indictment hearing was held with Mendelblit deciding not to extend the deliberations.

Case 4000, believed to be the most serious of the cases against Netanyahu, centers on suspicions that the prime minister acted to advance the interests of media mogul Shaul Elovitch in a manner that helped the Bezeq owner profit by more than a billion shekels. In return, Netanyahu and his wife Sara received favorable news coverage on the Walla website that is under Elovitch's control.

Case 2000 revolves around Netanyahu’s ties with Arnon (Noni) Mozes, the publisher of Israeli daily Yedioth Ahronoth. The prime minister is suspected of offering to promote legislation that would curb Yedioth’s main competitor, the free daily newspaper Israel Hayom, in return for better coverage of the prime minister in Mozes’ publication as well as its news site Ynet.

Case 1000 centers on suspicions that Netanyahu received lavish gifts worth hundreds of thousands of shekels from tycoons, primarily Hollywood producer Arnon Milchan. Milchan and his former business partner, Australian billionaire James Packer, are suspected of having given Netanyahu and his wife boxes full of champagne bottles, cigars and other goods, per the Netanyahus’ demands.