Yedidia Stern
Photo: Atta Awisat

Preserving Israel's rule of law

Opinion: While no one knows whether the attorney general will ultimately decide to indict the prime minister, this is an opportune moment to take a principled stand, free of positioning or party politics, to defend the justice system

The battle between political and judicial branches of government is intensifying.



Justice Minister Amir Ohana, a personal appointment of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, is attacking the very prosecution that is under his purview.


Minister of Justice Amir Ohana (Photo: Yoav Dudkevitch)
Minister of Justice Amir Ohana (Photo: Yoav Dudkevitch)


Dressed to the nines in suit and tie, but missing his kid gloves, Ohana has lashed out at the most senior members of staff under his rule for an alleged "political agenda" in the investigations into the prime minister.   


This is an unsettling example of the governing body attacking itself. In the world of medicine, we call this an autoimmune disease.


Like most major national events today, Ohana's words must be considered in the context of the times: The battle between the prime minister and the rule of law.


It is possible, at least for now, to differentiate between the prime minister and his close circle of supporters, including Amir Ohana.


Netanyahu has always been a liberal conservative - its traditions are deeply ingrained in him.


The words of his predecessor Menachem Begin, "There are judges in Jerusalem" still resonate. Deference of government to the rule of law is part of his ideological DNA.


In fact, the prime minister had been the one to block legislative efforts to weaken the judiciary that have been suggested over the past decade. But will he continue to do so?


Prime MInister Benjamin Netanyahu (Photo: Ohad Zwigenberg)
Prime MInister Benjamin Netanyahu (Photo: Ohad Zwigenberg)


Will he rise to the challenge of proving his innocence in corruption cases pending against him while defending the legal system?


Netanyahu's future is in the hands of Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit and his team.


Any decision they make will be subject to criticism from a swathe of the Israeli public.


This could be a liberating notion for the attorney general who can decide objectively, based on evidentiary facts, keeping any background noise outside where it belongs, in the town square.


Mandelblit is the right man in the right place.


Like the prime minister, he too was raised in a Revisionist home.


He had faced his own legal challenges while serving in the military, charges he was able to answer fully, giving him the added perspective when deciding the fate of the man who appointed him to this job.


Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit  (Photo: AP)
Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit (Photo: AP)


He served in the Military Prosecution as Chief Military Advocate General, and has been both a defense lawyer and prosecutor in the course of his career.


He is known to be calm and measured, as Netanyahu's attorneys will have seen during the decorus pre-indictment hearing.


The public is still in the dark about what Mandelblit's decision will ultimately be, which makes this the opportune moment to take a principled stand, free of positioning or party politics.


This stand must show loyalty to our democracy and to the rule of law.


Any attempt to delegitimize the attoney general's decision on whether to indict the prime minister or close all cases against him must be fought.


פרסום ראשון: 11.04.19, 10:42
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