Petition to Israel's Top Court Aims to Block Decision in Netanyahu's Corruption Cases Before Election

Veteran Likud activist urges Israel's top court to order attorney general to postpone decision slated for late February, but justices are unlikely to intervene

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File photo: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, February 3, 2019.
File photo: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, February 3, 2019.Credit: Ronen Zvulun/Reuters
Revital Hovel
Revital Hovel

A veteran Likud activist filed a petition Sunday with the Israeli High Court of Justice, calling on it to block until after the April 9 election the expected attorney general decision on indicting Prime Minister Benjamin Netnayhu's corruption cases.

Netanyahu's attorneys are also considering a similar petition, after Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit said on Friday that no legal reason prevents him from making his decision public before the election. The High Court, however, usually does not intervene in the attorney general's decisions, and so any petition is likely to fail.

>> Read more: No to Netanyahu: Israel's attorney general made the right decision ■ Everybody’s corrupt but Netanyahu

Yossi Fuchs, who ran in both Likud and Habayit Hayehudi primary elections in the past, stressed he does not represent Netanyahu, but "petitions on behalf of the electoral public, asking to prevent the defendant (Mendelblit) from interfering unjustly with the democratic election process."

He further argued that the attorney general's decision to announce his decision by late February "constitutes a unilateral move to the detriment of the prime minister, severely compromising the rights of his electorate," claiming it interferes with the public's right to know, as the legal process would not be completed by Election Day.

Last year, Fuchs petitioned against publishing the police's recommendations in Netanyahu's cases. His petition was rejected, but did cause a slight delay.

In response to a request by Netanyahu's legal team, Mendelblit wrote on Friday: "Suspending the regular work process, determined in advance, concerning the investigations... until after the date of the election would be a violation of the principle of equality before the law."

He noted that such a delay would also deviate from past instructions by the attorney general. "Waiting to release the decision is not in keeping with the public’s right to know," he added. Mendelblit said prosecutors had been examining the evidence long before an early election was called.

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