Police Officials: Netanyahu Probes Will Continue Even if Elections Are Called

It will be up to the attorney general to decide whether the investigations' results will be made public, senior police officers say.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Police Chief Roni Alsheich, 2015.
Chaim Zach / GPO

The investigations into Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will continue even if early elections are called, senior police sources said Sunday, amid speculation that the prime minister will dismantle the government.

Police sources added that if elections are moved up, publication of the investigations' results and the police recommendations would be the responsibility of Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit. The sources added that until there is an official announcement of early elections, police won’t even try to assess the difficulties that might crop up if the investigation has to continue parallel to an election campaign.

According to the attorney general’s regulations, any investigation already in progress will continue normally. If early elections are called and during the campaign new complaints or suspicions arise, police will reassess the situation with the attorney general and it’s the latter who will determine what to do with the new information.

A senior police sources said Sunday that in any case, the investigation into Case 1000, involving suspicions that Netanyahu and his family received expensive gifts from tycoons, and Case 2000, relating to an alleged deal between Netanyahu and Yedioth Ahronoth publisher Arnon Mozes to grant Netanyahu more favorable coverage in exchange for his working to weaken Israel Hayom, are both going into their home stretches and should be completed within a few months. Even if elections are moved forward, at least one of the investigations should be complete by the time elections are held, police sources said. But again, it will be Mendelblit who will decide when to publish the results and no official police announcements will be made without his permission.

Two months ago Mendelblit expressed his opposition to a bill by MK David Amsalem (Likud) that seeks to prevent police investigations of sitting prime ministers. Mendelblit objected for both legal reasons and because of the timing of the bill, which was submitted when Netanyahu was already being intensively investigated. That’s also one of the reasons that police believe Mendelblit will not order the investigations stopped or even slowed if elections are called.

During the last elections, then-Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein announced, contrary to the police position, that the investigation into the management of the prime minister’s residences would open only after the elections were over. The current situation is different, since Weinstein blocked the investigation from opening in the first place, while today the investigations against Netanyahu are winding down to completion.