Poll: Most Israelis Think Decision on Netanyahu Indictment Should Be Announced Before Election

Only 22 percent of respondents say Avichai Mendelblit should wait until after April 9 to announce whether or not he will indict the prime minister

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (center) and Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit (right) at a meeting, Jerusalem, March 2, 2017.
אוהד צויגנברג

Sixty-four percent of the Israeli public believes Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit should announce his decision on whether or not to indict Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu before the election on April 9, a survey conducted by "Meet the Press" on the Israel Television News Companu showed on Saturday.

According to the survey, conducted by iPanel, 22 percent of the respondents believe Mendelblit should wait until after the election to announce his decision, while 14 percent said they did not know whether or not Mendelblit should delay the announcement.

The 507 respondents consisted of a representative sample of Israel's adult population and the survey had a margin error of 4.4 percent.

>> Editorial: Mendelblit, decide before the election

Netanyahu addressed the matter in a Facebook video earlier on Saturday, saying that it is forbidden to launch a hearing without finishing it before the election. The prime minister's remarks echoed ones he made Monday at a press conference in Brazil, where he asserted that a prime minister does not need to resign as long as a hearing into a potential indictment has not been completed.

Mendelblit brought up the issue in a speech on Thursday, when he referred to "baseless claims of supposedly biased conduct by law enforcement authorities." 

He mentioned Likud MK David Amsalem who said that "millions of people won't accept" criminal charges against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. "Such sayings wish to harm the public's trust in our decisions," Mendelblit said. "Not only do they have nothing to do with the truth, they are also irresponsible."

Referring to a pending decision in Netanyahu's corruption cases, Mendelblit added State Prosecutor Shai Nitzan and him "are aware of the heavy responsibbility we have been trusted with. Our duty is to get to the bottom of the truth and make just, right decision in the investigation cases that now preoccupy us all."