The Difference Between Netanya and Netanyahu

Mendelblit must protect the public, not the prime minister, in order to rehabilitate the confidence in the justice system.

Haaretz Editorial
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Mendelblit recently blocked a police inquiry into yet another of the many cases involving Netanyahu.Credit: Emil Salman
Haaretz Editorial

Netanya Mayor Miriam Feirberg has been in police custody for the last two days. She is being questioned about her alleged involvement in a corruption case, a month and a half after Haaretz published an expose (Sharon Pulwer and Lee Yaron, July 27) on the matter.

The expose consisted of information and testimonies about building permits that were granted to projects in which Feirberg and her son had properties, family involvement in municipal affairs, and political appointments.

Feirberg and the other suspects in the case are, of course, presumed innocent – an investigation doesn’t mean an indictment, and a charge sheet is also a long way from a conviction.

But the same law enforcement system that is working vigorously on the Netanya case has frozen in its work on the Netanyahu cases. There, the cuffs are put on the investigators’ hands. The police know who is responsible for this – Avichai Mendelblit, Maj. Gen. in reserves, formerly the secretary of Netanyahu’s cabinet and now attorney general for the past eight months.

As Gidi Weitz wrote in his expose in Haaretz this week, Mendelblit recently blocked a police inquiry into yet another of the many cases involving Netanyahu. He blocked the mere examination of the case – not to mention a full criminal investigation – as is customary when it comes to connected people.

Before Netanyahu returned to the prime minister’s seat in 2009, an American nonprofit organization called American Friends of Likud financed his wife’s trips abroad and paid for a political adviser, in the guise of services rendered to the organization. The organization was headed by Ari Harow, who later became Netanyahu’s bureau chief. Harow is a friend of the Netanyahu family and has recently been the focus of another police investigation.

The police seized papers and recordings regarding this case, but the probe was cut short by an order by the attorney general. Mendelblit said by way of explanation that he believed the inquiry wouldn’t have led to a criminal investigation against Netanyahu. The attorney general’s associates said Mendelblit is a purposeful man who isn’t interested in walking into a dead end.

Mendelblit is using a circular argument in the service of his former employer, Netanyahu. Mendelblit’s current employer is the state and he is supposed to fear the law, not the Netanyahus. If a thorough investigation isn’t conducted, we’ll never know what could have been discovered.

Mendelblit must protect the public, not Netanyahu, in order to rehabilitate the confidence in the justice system.