Speaking at the Israel Bar Association Law Conference in Tel Aviv, Liat Ben Ari, the Tel Aviv district attorney for taxation and economics, said that a “heavy responsibility rests on our shoulders. We need to make a recommendation to the attorney general and say what we think."
“It's easy to say that we need to decide on Cases 1000 and 2000 separately, but there is also Case 4000, which has great influence. Time can not come at the expense of the truth. The worst thing is to make the wrong recommendation," she stressed.
“We’ve made a decision to submit a single recommendation encompassing all cases together to the attorney general. The word 'procrastination' has a negative connotation. I suggest that anyone who deals with any of these cases refrains from using this term,” Ben Ari continued.
“You can be sure that we work long hours and do our best. I would not be willing to submit a recommendation I’m unsure of, purely due to time pressure," the attorney added.
Deputy Attorney General Raz Nizri shared Ben Ari’s sentiments, emphasizing that greater importance should be placed on unearthing the truth than delivering a rapid conclusion.
"The testimony of state’s witness Nir Hefetz … required further investigation—and this takes more time," he said in reference to Netanyahu's former media advisor who in March signed a state's witness agreement.
"I will not give a precise assessment regarding a timeline, but I can say that we are doing our best to decide on the issue as soon as possible. It will not take too long. There are occasional discussions with the attorney general on these matters,” Nizri opined.
Nizri suggested the amount of evidence which resulted from the Hefetz testimonies is overwhelming.
"The deal with Nir Hefetz brought us dozens or even hundreds of recordings containing thousands of hours of audio. There may be incriminating evidence in these tapes, and it is our responsibility to know what is on there, so it was decided to go through all the recordings ... and I assume the decision will be made in the early part of 2019," he concluded.
Earlier, Maj. Gen. (ret.) Menachem Yitzhaki, former head of the Investigations and Intelligence Department of the Israel Police, also shared his opinion on the timeframe.
"There are objective reasons that cause time pressure, we need to act in order to reduce the time it takes to come up with a decision, and we have some creative ideas,” asserted Yitzhaki.
“The police has, more or less, 400,000 cases and thousands of information bases, most of which are handled immediately. Cases that take a lot of time are mainly those that deal with corruption, and they are not comparable with routine cases,” he explained.
Yitzhaki went on to emphasize that time is not being dragged purposely.
"Deliberate procrastination would be in complete contradiction to the investigation’s interests. It is the first thing we learn when it comes to investigations," he said, adding that "procrastination is the enemy of the investigation … it wastes energy, time … and forces us to reveal sensitive material,” he argued.
"We are acting in accordance with the law and its restrictions. We are involved in joint legal affairs with various legal systems throughout the world," Yitzhaki concluded.