Former Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit

AG blocked police attempts to tap phones of Netanyahu and wife, source says

Former investigator says police felt their hands were tied despite Sara Netanyahu 'pulling the wool over the eyes'; Avichai Mandelblit says he took flack for decision to protect rights of suspects

Attila Somfalvi |
Updated: 02.10.22, 23:29
Former Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit blocked efforts of police investigators to monitor the phones of former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's wife and son, as part of their investigations of suspected wrong doings by Netanyahu and his family.
  • Follow Ynetnews on Facebook and Twitter

  • Sara Netanyahu pleaded guilty to misuse of funds in 2019, as part of a plea agreement and was alleged to have accepted and solicited expensive gifts from her husband's rich benefactors, for which the former prime minister is now on trial among other charges.
    3 View gallery
    אביחי מנדלבליט
    אביחי מנדלבליט
    Former Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit
    Netanyahu, is on trial for bribery, fraud and breach of trust and his attorneys have been requesting a suspension of proceedings following press reports that the police illegally used spyware to snoop on Netanyahu's own son and members of his inner circle, and a state witness to gather information
    "We had zero access to the family's electronic media, either in the Prime Minister's office or at their home, Mandelblit did not allow it," the source - a former high ranking police investigator, said.
    “In their case there was no question that we could not confiscate any of their equipment. We kept saying that Sara (Netanyahu’s wife) is pulling the wool over our eyes and we can’t even check her phone to verify her claims,” he said.
    “We could not even get permission to request a court order to tap their phones. We felt we were being neutered, that our hands were tied,” the police source added.
    3 View gallery
    בנימין נתניהו
    בנימין נתניהו
    Opposition Leader Benjamin Netanyahu speaks in Knesset about the police's alleged misuse of spyware
    (Photo: Alex Kolomoisky)
    In a private conversations, the content of which reached Ynet this week, Mandelblit said among other things, that he insisted on being exceedingly stingy with permits when it came to Netanyahu’s investigation.
    “I took fire from all directions for that decision. I was criticized all the time…I was told I was tying [the investigators'] hands. But I am very careful when it comes to trampling individual's rights, even that of of suspects,” Mandelblit said.
    3 View gallery
    Yair, Sara and Benjamin Netanyahu
    Yair, Sara and Benjamin Netanyahu
    Yair, Sara and Benjamin Netanyahu
    (Photo: Reuters)
    “I did not approve tapping the phone of either Yair or Sara (Netanyahu's son and wife respectively) and I was criticized for it. I told them ‘I will not snoop inside the prime minister’s phone because there are things there that could pertain to [Netanyahu’s Likud party]’... I insisted on being a stickler and I got a lot of flak for it.”
    “[Suspects] have rights too. Before I trampled on their rights I wanted to be sure that they were indeed suspected of very grave offenses,” the former attorney general added.



    First published: 22:42, 02.10.22
    Talkbacks for this article 0