Attorneys for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asked the attorney general Tuesday to reconsider the credibility of investigations conducted against them during the tenure of Deputy Police Commissioner Roni Ritman as commander of the Lahav 433 unit, arguing that they may have been motivated by a personal vendetta against the family.
Minister of Public Security Gilad Erdan refused to appoint Ritman to any position in the police force after it was decided that he would finish his role as head of the Lahav unit, effectively ending his police career, contrary to the position of Police Commissioner Roni Alsheikh.
The letter, sent by attorneys Yaakov Weinroth and Yossi Cohen, states that "today it is clear that Dep. Commissioner Roni Ritman, who headed the investigations of Israeli prime minister and his wife, was prejudiced because he believed that the Netanyahu family initiated the sexual harassment complaint filed against him by a subordinate.”
Ritman oversaw the Residence Affair investigation, which led to the indictment of Sara Netanyahu, as well as the investigations in Cases 1000, 2000, and 4000 alleging bribery charges against the prime minister.
"This fact casts a heavy shadow on the investigations that were conducted against the Netanyahu family, and any matter examined by the unit under his leadership regarding the Netanyahu couple is questionable," the two added. At the end of the letter, the the attorneys asked Mandelblit to "re-examine the above investigations."
Earlier in the day, Haaretz reported that Ritman, during the investigation into his sexual abuse allegations, asked whether there was a connection between the complaint against him and the investigation against Sara Netanyahu in the Residence Affair. Ritman’s attorney alleged that the complaint against him was in response to his work as investigator of the Netanyahu family.
In May, Ritman announced that he was retiring from the police force. In the weeks leading up to his announcement, he was awaiting a new promotion to join top police brass, which was denied to him after Minister Erdan refused to allow him any further police appointments.
In January, Police Commissioner Alsheikh rebuked Ritman as a result of the sexual harassment claims against him by a junior officer. The reprimand was carried out following the High Court of Justice's demand that the police close the criminal investigation against Ritman.
According to the decision in January, Ritman could remain in uniform, but could not advance to, or receive a significant role, such as a district commander or head of the traffic department.
A complaint filed against Ritman by a junior officer alleges that he sexually harassed her a few years ago at the end of a police party, after which he followed her to her car in the parking lot and forcibly kissed her.