Netanyahu Comes Out Swinging: ‘It’s An Attempted Coup’

Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit holds a press conference at the Ministry of Justice in Jerusalem, announcing his decision that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will stand trial for bribery, fraud and breach of trust. Nov. 21, 2019. (Flash90/Hadas Parush)

In a defiant statement Thursday, Netanyahu said the indictment stemmed from “false accusations” and a systematically “tainted investigation.”

By: WIN Staff

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has rejected his indictment on an array of corruption charges, saying the country is witnessing an “attempted coup” against him.

In a defiant statement Thursday, Netanyahu said the indictment stemmed from “false accusations” and a systematically “tainted investigation.”

“Investigate the investigators,” he said, attacking in particular State Attorney Shai Nitzan and Liat Ben-Ari, one of the top prosecutors who built the cases against him.

He said of Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit that he wasn’t able to stand up to the pressure of Nitzan and others in the State Attorney’s Office.

Mandelblit said the indictment of Netanyahu was a “heavy-hearted decision” based solely on professional considerations.

“Today is a sad day for Israel and for me,” the attorney general said.

Addressing reporters Thursday, Avichai Mandelblit rejected suggestions that the indictment was politically motivated.

He angrily criticized pressure campaigns by Netanyahu’s supporters and foes to sway his decision, which came after months of deliberations. He also criticized the attacks on the courts, police and State Attorney’s Office by the prime minister’s supporters.

Netanyahu gave a long list of incidents in which prosecutors blocked political appointments they didn’t agree with, calling it a “method.”

He called on not only his supporters but his rivals – those of whom were “fair-minded” – to stand up to the “pollution” or “contamination” in the system.

He spoke after the attorney general announced his indictment on charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust in three long-running corruption cases.

Netanyahu was unable to form a government following unprecedented back-to-back elections this year, in part because of his legal woes, and a third vote could be held within months.

According to Israeli law, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will have to concede all his ministerial positions outside of the premiership following the announcement on Thursday evening that he will be indicted in three corruption cases.

Ministers must resign if they’re charged with a crime, Arutz7 reports.

Netanyahu holds several ministries, including health, welfare, and the Diaspora ministry. He will have to hand over all of them to others.

Ironically, the law doesn’t cover the prime minister’s office so Netanyahu may consider to serve in the country’s highest office.

It is a historical first for the State of Israel. A sitting prime minister has never been indicted.

Benny Gantz, the leader of Israel’s Blue and White party, said in a statement Thursday the indictment raises concerns that Netanyahu “will make decisions in his own personal interest and for his political survival and not in the national interest,” adding that the prime minister has “no public or moral mandate to make fateful decisions for the state of Israel.”

AP reported that Netanyahu and Gantz were virtually tied after September’s elections and each failed to assemble a majority coalition in parliament. The country now appears headed into an unprecedented third round of elections in less than a year, in part because of Netanyahu’s legal woes.

Gantz’s comments arrived about an hour after Israel’s Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit general formally charged Netanyahu in a series of corruption cases. (World Israel News)

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