In the office of Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit the special team appointed to deliberate the pending indictments against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has completed its debates, and Mandelblit is about to decide to indict the PM, Israel’s media reported Thursday night.
The decision in Case 1000 (receiving valuable gifts from several billionaires, most notably James Packer, and Arnon Milchan) is to file an indictment for fraud and breach of trust, subject to a hearing of the PM.
In Case 2000 (a proposed deal between Netanyahu and Yedioth Aharonoth owner Arnon “Noni” Moses to undercut the pro-Bibi competitor Israel Hayom), the attorney general is still debating between closing it down and filing an indictment for bribery.
The opinion of senior officials in the Justice Ministry, as well as the Taxation and Economics Prosecution, on Case 2000 is to indict both Netanyahu and Moses of giving and accepting bribes.
In Case 4000 (a deal between Netanyahu and Shaul Elovitch, controlling shareholder of communications giant Bezeq, to exchange state favors to Bezeq in exchange for favorable coverage of Netanyahu in Elovitch’s news website Walla), the attorney general is expected to file an indictment for bribery.
About a week and a half ago, the attorney general met with Netanyahu’s attorneys, Navot Tel-Zur and Amit Hadad, who asked him not to announce his decision to indict the prime minister before the elections. But the attorney general’s office is expected to inform the attorneys in before the weekend that he refuses their request.
Mandelblit believes that freezing or postponing the decision to hold a hearing for the prime minister before submitting the indictments against him would constitute political intervention in the elections, and not vice versa.
Prime Minister Netanyahu’s circle on Thursday night issued a statement saying, “It appears that the attorney general has yielded to pressure from the left and the media to indict Prime Minister Netanyahu at any cost – and before the elections.”
In this context, it should be noted that the Prime Minister was the one who decided to dissolve the Knesset and declare new elections – about a week after he had declared that elections at this time would constitute a danger to Israel’s security (when the operation to destroy Hezbollah’s tunnels was announced).
Also, it was Netanyahu who decided on the date of the elections, when he was aware that the investigations against him were reaching the indictments phase.
Was it a gamble that failed on Bibi’s part? You betcha.