Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is continuing his campaign against Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit, whose only sin is that he’s doing his job: He objected to Netanyahu’s request to take 10 million shekels ($2.9 million) from American businessman Spencer Partrich to help pay for his legal defense in the three criminal cases pending against him.
Mendelblit was asked to rule on the matter by the permits committee in the State Comptroller’s Office. In his legal opinion, Mendelblit wrote that in principle any benefit given to the prime minister is given to him because he’s a public servant, and as such is forbidden.
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In response, Netanyahu the prime minister vacated his place in favor of defendant Netanyahu. That’s why the public was treated to a flood of additional condemnation of the attorney general and another version of the blood libel that there’s a conspiracy against him. “Mendelblit’s plot for an antigovernment coup has been exposed in all its ugliness,” defendant Netanyahu wrote on the prime minister’s Facebook page, and once again demonstrated how distorted the State of Israel’s situation is.
“The attorney general’s conflict of interests shouts to the skies,” Netanyahu wrote, without an iota of shame. “With one hand he files an unfounded indictment against the prime minister, and with the other hand he does everything to undermine the ability of the prime minister to defend himself against him.” But the only one with a serious conflict of interest here is Netanyahu himself, who zigzags between the state’s interests, which are entrusted to him as prime minister, and his own interests as a defendant being prosecuted by the state.
Netanyahu’s strategy is transparent. He doesn’t have a scrap of evidence that would support his claims about Mendelblit. If he did, he wouldn’t need the campaign of mudslinging and lies that he’s conducting.
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All Netanyahu wants is to cast doubt on Mendelblit’s motives, strengthen the doubt and cultivate it, until it casts a pall on the integrity of the legal proceedings against him. Then Netanyahu’s lawyers can claim that the process has been tainted and the trial must be canceled.
That’s why it must be stated repeatedly with the same consistency used by the slanderous prime minister: Netanyahu is lying to our faces. There is no coup being plotted here. In fact, Israel has a national unity government, led by Netanyahu and the man chosen in the hope he would replace him. Mendelblit is a loyal and obedient public servant, whom Netanyahu himself appointed, and is not conspiring against him in any shape or form.
We are witnessing a total fabrication by a criminal defendant who will say anything to evade justice. It’s not Mendelblit pursuing Netanyahu, but the truth – for which he will give an accounting in court.
The above article is Haaretz’s lead editorial, as published in the Hebrew and English newspapers in Israel.