Netanyahu Corruption Investigations 'In Final Stretch,' Attorney General Says

Avichai Mendelblit says the probe has not been affected by alien considerations

Netanyahu at an event marking International Holocaust Victims Remembrance Day, January 29, 2018.
VASILY MAXIMOV/AFP

Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit said Wednesday that the criminal investigations against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu were close to completion. He emphasized that they have not been influenced by extraneous considerations, including political ones.

“We are absolutely in the final stretch. We will move on to hearing the legal opinions and making decisions,” he told an Israel Bar Association meeting of chief legal advisers in Tel Aviv.

“Let the Israel Police do their job. We are doing everything we can to clarify the suspicions. There is no basis for attributing alien considerations to the investigation or, heaven forbid, political ones. You need to remember that a criminal investigation is not a reality show. You can’t share every given moment with the public. If we did that, we would impair the search for the truth,” Mendelblit said.

“We will not be afraid to make difficult decisions,” the attorney general added. “Everything will be done by the book. I am aware of the burden of responsibility.”

Netanyahu is under police investigation in two cases. One dubbed Case 1000 involves valuable gifts that Netanyahu andhis family allegedly received from several leading business figures.

Avichai Mendelblit speaking at an Israel Bar Association meeting, January 31, 2018.
Tomer Appelbaum

The other, Case 2000, is an investigation of conversations between the prime minister and the publisher of the Yedioth Ahronoth daily, Arnon Mozes, in which there was allegedly discussion of Netanyahu pursuing government policy beneficial to Yedioth in return for favorable coverage in the newspaper.

The prime minister has said that he never intended to follow through on what was discussed with Mozes, and denies any wrongdoing in either case.

Mendelblit was critical of news coverage of the investigations that he claimed purported to reveal information about the investigations and the considerations involved in decision making in the cases.

“I would like to state clearly. Some of the reports are simply false,” he said. “And the same goes for things purportedly said by my associates or those around me. These comments do not reflect my worldview. No conclusions of any kind should be made or attempts to glean future outcomes from these statements.”

“When I want to convey a message to the public, I know how to do it and I do it myself,” the attorney general said. “I suggest that the public rely exclusively on official statements and be wary of unauthorized reports.”

In January, it was reported that police recommendations in Case 1000 would likely be delayed, in part due to the need to question the prime minister again, but that they would be submitted by early March.