AG slams Netanyahu immunity bid, 'overreach' in court reform
Avichai Mandelblit says the claims made by the prime minister and his allies pushing for legislation to shield him from prosecution are ‘baseless’; says attempt to interfere with judicial system reflect ‘lack of understanding of democracy’
Avichai Mandelblit said the recent claims made by various government officials that, “the legal and judicial systems harm democracy and interfere with the will of the people following the elections reflect a lack of understanding of what a democratic system really is.”
Mandelblit, who previously served as cabinet secretary to Netanyahu, said the arguments used bythe prime minister and his allies to push for a change in the Immunity Law were “baseless.”
"The argument, that an amendment to the Immunity Law is required in order to protect the prime minister from so-called insubstantial rulings against him, is baseless," Mandelblit said.
"You get the impression this is not the real purpose of promoting the amendment to the Immunity Law or any other legislation intended to change the nature of the legal system … The truth must be told - the job of the prosecutors working on the prime minister's legal cases - is substantial, professional, and thorough," the general attorney said.
Mandelblit also alluded to the recent postponement of Netanyahu's pre-indictment hearing date. “We had to withstand a lot of pressure from both sides of the political world, but we never gave in to that pressure.
“As long as the prime minister’s representatives will be at the hearing on a date that’s been set, their arguments will be heard with an open heart and will be considered in depth, as is customary,” he said.
The attorney general said he’s not claiming the justice system should be immune to change or criticism but it should be done within reason.
"It’s allowed to fact-check, examine and criticize, but you mustn't throw the baby out with the bathwater," Mandelblit said. “These issues should be examined cooperatively, in a respectful manner, while maintaining the fundamental principles of our legal system, as a Jewish and democratic state, and believing in protecting our citizens.”