“The opening day of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s trial will be remembered as one of the low points of the Israeli legal system,” Speaker of the Knesset Yariv Levin (Likud) posted on his Facebook page Sunday morning.
“The charges against the prime minister are unprecedented in Western democracies,” Levin continued. “Their realm, if at all, should have been the ethical and non-criminal sphere, and it’s no wonder that the world’s top jurists have been harshly criticizing it.”
The world top jurist Levin referenced was Professor Alan Dershowitz, who wrote in Haaretz last year that “to bring down a duly elected prime minister on the basis of an expansive and unprecedented application of a broad and expandable criminal statute endangers democracy.”
On Sunday, attorney Dror Matityahu who represents Or Elovitch, the son of Bezeq and Walla owner Shaul Elovitch who is a co-defendant in Case 4000, quoted in an interview on Army radio Prof. Dershowitz’s statement that “Netanyahu’s trial is a danger to democracy and the rule of law. This is the first time in the history of any modern country where a person is being put to trial for trying to get positive news coverage.”
Levin, for his part, continued on Facebook: “The State of Israel needs a fair, equitable and non-selective law enforcement system. Therefore, the trial that opens today is not just Benjamin Netanyahu’s trial, it is a trial of the future of Israeli democracy and the future of its law enforcement system.”
“Benjamin Netanyahu won an unprecedented vote in the last election, with the Likud under his leadership receiving the highest number of votes any list has received since the establishment of the state. It was a personal expression of confidence in the prime minister and his leadership, and also a protest in the face of the improper procedure being taken against him,” Levin stressed, but, of course, a court trial is not a popularity contest.
Levin also presented Netanyahu as a victim of a hostile law enforcement system: “As one who knows Prime Minister Netanyahu closely, as well as his work and his absolute commitment to the State of Israel and the citizens of Israel, I know that he was done a terrible injustice. I believe that any decent person who examines the cases and the proceedings prior to filing the indictments will immediately conclude that these cases must result in only one way – a collapse. I, like millions of Israeli citizens, stand with the Prime Minister today. With to the truth. With justice,” Levin concluded.