The appointment of Dan Eldad as acting state prosecutor by Justice Minister Amir Ohana has produced quick results. Eldad is doing exactly what he was appointed for, just as Ohana is doing exactly what he was called on to do by the criminal defendant who appointed him, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Two weeks after being named, without the recommendation of Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit, and even though it was only last week that Eldad learned details of the bankruptcy of Fifth Dimension, a cybersecurity company once led by Benny Gantz, the newly minted state prosecutor announced he was ordering the police to question company officials before next week’s election.
This exercise by Netanyahu and his loyalists is so transparent that it’s hard to believe they weren’t too embarrassed to conduct it, or to honestly believe that anyone would buy their forged goods. This is an effort to create a false symmetry with the prime minister, who is facing charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust, and his rival, who isn’t a criminal suspect at all.
Obviously the prosecution must investigate any suspicion of criminal activity. The criticism of Eldad voiced by senior prosecutors isn’t about the decision to launch an investigation, but the speed with which it was decided to turn the examination into a criminal proceeding, and particularly the timing of the decision, right before the election.
Everyone knows that Eldad was chosen for the position against the will of the attorney general, at the height of the campaign for the third election within a year, by a justice minister who was appointed solely for his willingness to battle the legal system in service of his master. And all this as Netanyahu faces serious charges, his trial scheduled to begin two weeks after the election. When all these circumstances converge, one mustn’t succumb to the temptation to divert public attention from the corruption attributed to Netanyahu.
We must also view all the components of this development as another expression of Netanyahu’s efforts to pimp out all the systems of the government and to prostitute their employees and elected officials in order to remain in power. Gantz, then, acted appropriately when he made it clear that he had no intention of adopting Netanyahu’s criminal attitude toward the law authorities, declaring, “I shall foster the rule of law, I shall foster the investigative and enforcement institutions and give them the power they need.” Gantz also promise to resign if he is ever charged with a crime. Those are the actions of a person convinced of his innocence. That’s how a prime ministerial candidate acts when the state and maintaining the rule of law are his top priorities.
The above article is Haaretz’s lead editorial, as published in the Hebrew and English newspapers in Israel.