(February 28, 2019 / JNS) Just hours before Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit was expected to announce his intent to indict Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on an array of charges, Israel’s High Court blocked a petition from the Likud Party seeking to delay the indictment.
Responding to the decision, Likud said that “It is unfortunate that the High Court didn’t prevent the left from blatantly intervening in the elections.”
The Likud petition said that announcement timed so close to national elections would interfere with the public’s right to choose their top leader.
Mandelblit has said that handing down the indictment just weeks before the election was simply a matter of coincidental timing, and accused Netanyahu of making the elections earlier only after he announced that he would soon publicize his decision.
Netanyahu has accused Mandelblit of succumbing to “pressure from the left and the media” in making his announcement prior to elections.
He further lambasted Mandelblit for going through with a public display of announcing an intent to indict when previous cases featuring other public officials were closed without indictments taking place, despite a previous announcement by the attorney general that he intended to do so.
Mandelblit has argued that his announcement is legal, despite a tendency not to indict immediately prior to elections, so as not to appear to show bias, stating that pushing off the indictment would appear to show bias towards Netanyahu.