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Netanyahu fights for his political life

Following the attorney general's announcement that he will be indicted, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has stepped up his desperate war against the legal system and the media.
Israeli Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivers a statement to the media in his residency in Jerusalem February 28, 2019 REUTERS/ Ronen Zvulun - RC1A94DCC510
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For the first time in the history of Israel, the country’s top law enforcement officer has decided to indict the man at its helm. On Feb. 28, following a complex investigation spanning more than two years, Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit announced that he had decided to serve Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, for whom he had worked as cabinet secretary, with three criminal indictments. In Case 4000, concerning ties between Netanyahu and communication tycoon Shaul Elovitch, he’ll be charged with bribery, and in Case 1000 and Case 2000 concerning benefits received from wealthy businessmen and the positive media coverage, he’ll be charged with fraud and breach of trust.

Netanyahu's official indictment is now pending a hearing. His supporters are latching onto the word “hearing,” telling themselves that everything could still turn around and Mandelblit’s decision is not final. In fact, Mandelblit is highly unlikely to change his mind after Netanyahu and his lawyers respond to the suspicions laid out in detail over 57 pages. He took every possible precaution and raised the evidentiary bar to unprecedented heights before making his decision. He played it safe, cutting Netanyahu extensive slack. That Mandelblit went ahead and issued his recommendation to indict Netanyahu despite intense pressure to hold off until after the upcoming Knesset elections on April 9 attests to his confidence in the outcome.

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