Israeli Opposition Demands Knesset Hold Special Session Over Netanyahu's Attack on Attorney General

25 lawmakers sign petition to meet despite Knesset recess - a sufficient number to require the plenum to gather, and for government representatives to attend

Jonathan Lis
Jonathan Lis
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File photo: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the Knesset, Jerusalem, January 9, 2019.
File photo: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the Knesset, Jerusalem, January 9, 2019.Credit: Emil Salman
Jonathan Lis
Jonathan Lis

Twenty-five Israeli lawmakers petitioned the Knesset speaker Monday demanding to hold a special meeting following Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's statements against the attorney general.

On Saturday, Netanyahu slammed Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit for giving an interview on Israel Television News, saying that “the choice to cooperate with such a [television] program, at such a time, is unprecedented in Israeli legal history and raises serious questions.”

Later that night, Netanyahu posted a video in which he claimed that a decision to file an indictment against him would constitute a capitulation by Mendelblit to the left and to journalists.

>> Netanyahu bemoans 'unprecedented' campaign against him. Then launches unparalleled attack | Analysis

The Knesset dissolved in December when the prime minister announced he would hold an early election. Twenty-five lawmakers requested to meet during the Knesset recess, a sufficient number to require the plenum to gather, and for government representatives to attend.

Opposition head Shelly Yacimovich, who sent the petition to Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein, wrote that "the incitement video against the attorney general and the aggressive attacks that accompanied it in the media amount to a violent challenge to the rule of law and to democratic principles."

On Saturday, a senior source told the Israel Television News Company that Mendelblit is expected to indict Netanyahu next month, pending a hearing, on charges of bribery in the Bezeq-Walla news-for-favors case (Case 4000).

Yacimovich and Labor MK Itzik Shmuli wrote in the letter that "ever since it was reported in recent days that the attorney general will be indicting Netanyahu pending a hearing, the prime minister and his yes-men have begun a violent incitement campaign targeting the attorney general's office and attempting to preemptively put a stain on his decisions."

"The goal is to prevent the attorney general in any possible way, be it kosher or not, from filing the indictment," Yacimovich said. Shmuli added: "On his way out, in a desparate attempt to escape justice, the prime minister has decided to burn down the club and take out the media and the rule of law."

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