Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu published a video Thursday, in which he addressed the possibility of being summoned to an indictment hearing before upcoming elections, scheduled to April 9.
"For years, the media and left-wing demonstrators put brutal and inhuman pressure on the attorney general to get him to file an indictment against me at any price, even when there is nothing to prove," he said.
"These days, this pressure had reached its peak. They are trying to force the attorney general to intervene in the elections by declaring a hearing— when it is clear to all that it's impossible to complete an indictment hearing before the elections," Netanyahu said.
"Having an indictment hearing is absurd if you can't complete the hearing until the elections. It is inconceivable that the public will only get to hear one side… After all, cases have been closed in the past after both sides were heard. This is exactly why, knowing it cannot be completed until the elections, no indictment hearing was ever scheduled before elections. It also explains why the left is trying to do the opposite—their agenda is clear: to oust a prime minister by throwing a field trial and hijacking the elections from you, citizens of Israel. "
Netanyahu's statement was made two days after news broke that Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit and State Attorney Shai Nitzan are working to complete work on the three investigations in the coming weeks and make a decision on whether to indict Netanyahu and on what charges about a month and a half before Israelis head to the polls.
Judicial officials estimate there is sufficient evidence against Netanyahu to indict him for fraud and breach of trust in a conflict of interest, and discussions are now focused on whether there is sufficient evidence for a bribery conviction as well.
At a press conference in Brazil Monday, Netanyahu said he does not intend to resign or bow out of the election race if charges are filed against him.
"According to the law, the prime minister does not have to resign during the hearing process ... The hearing doesn't end until my side is heard," he said.
"Imagine what would happen if a prime minister is ousted before the hearing is finished, and then after the hearing they decide to close the case. It's absurd. It's a terrible blow to democracy."
During an annual meeting that Mandelblit had last week with former attorneys general and state attorneys, most of the attendees contended he must make the effort to conclude work on the cases before the elections, so the public could be informed before placing their ballots.
According to a report by the Israel Television News Company, the meeting's attendees stressed that Mandelblit did not consult with them about the case, and the matter came up as part of a general discussion on current events, including the Nation-State Law, the legal advisors bill and the Regulation Law.
"To declare a hearing during an election campaign without hearing the other side is a distortion of the electorate's wishes and a serious blow to the democratic process," the prime minister's lawyers said in a statement.
"It is undemocratic to begin a hearing before the elections when it cannot be concluded before the elections. It cannot be that the public would only hear one side and not the other. There have been many cases in which hearing the other side's responses in the hearing have led to the cases being closed," the statement went on to say.