ועידת המשפט
Attorney General Avicahi Mandelblit
Photo: Moti Kimchi
Attorney General Avicahi Mandelblit

AG says Netanyahu will not be forced to abdicate premiership during corruption trial

Mandelblit says PM may hold onto premiership in virtue of conflict of interest arrangement which 'prevents the incumbent from influencing his personal criminal affairs by exercising his governmental powers'

Gilad Morag, Tova Tzimuki |
Published: 09.03.20 , 20:56
Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit said on Thursday that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will not be obliged to vacate his position when his corruption trial opens in January 2021.
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  • "The indictment was filed against the citizen, Mr. Benjamin Netanyahu, and attributed to him personally, and not against him as prime minister. The indictment was certainly not filed against a political party, God forbid," Mandelblit said.
    ועידת המשפטועידת המשפט
    Attorney General Avicahi Mandelblit
    (Photo: Moti Kimchi)
    "As I told the Supreme Court - his tenure as prime minister on trial is possible under a very clear conflict of interest arrangement, which prevents the incumbent from influencing his personal criminal affairs by exercising his governmental powers."
    "Such a conflict of interest arrangement will guarantee a complete separation between the tenure of Mr. Netanyahu as prime minister and the powers conferred on him within this framework and his personal handling of the criminal proceedings in his case."
    Mandelblit also rejected attacks on the judicial system that claim the criminal charges leveled against Netanyahu are a part of a conspiracy to oust him.
    "There is no political prosecution system in the State of Israel," the attorney general said. "I firmly reject the attempt to turn defense claims regarding legal proceedings, whose place is in court, to claims of political persecution that are thrown into the ether out of a clear goal to delegitimize the entire process. I said it before and I'll say it again, we are not against a specific person, we are for revealing the truth."
    בנימין נתניהובנימין נתניהו
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
    (Photo: GPO)
    The attorney general also heavily criticized personal attacks on officials involved in the premier's trial.
    "I also strongly reject the malicious attempts to threaten or harm the good name of those involved in the handling of the indictment filed in this proceeding," the veteran jurist said. "If anybody expects the prosecutor's professionalism to be affected in any way by personal attacks, then I would like to announce here that they are wrong. We will continue to act solely out of material considerations, in accordance with the law, and not out of any other consideration."
    Netanyahu is being investigated in three separate cases: Case 1000 concerns illicit gifts the prime minister allegedly received from business moguls Arnon Milchan and James Packer.
    בנימין נתניהו בפתח משפטובנימין נתניהו בפתח משפטו
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, flocked by lawmakers of his Luikud party, giving statement before opening of corruption trial
    (Photo: Reuters)
    Case 2000 concerns alleged discussions Netanyahu and Yedioth Ahronoth publisher Arnon Mozes had over a quid pro quo of positive media for the prime minister in return for Netanyahu weakening Yedioth's main rival newspaper Israel Hayom.
    Case 4000 involves an alleged plan to ease regulations for telecommunications mogul and Bezeq chief Shaul Elovitch in return for positive coverage on his Walla! news website.
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