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Netanyahu directs supporters to protest law enforcement

For the first time in Israel's history, the prime minister has called upon his supporters to demonstrate against the country’s law enforcement agencies.
Supporters of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu take part in a protest supporting Netanyahu after he was charged in corruption cases, in Tel Aviv, Israel November 26, 2019. REUTERS/Amir Cohen - RC28JD9T6J6B
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No Israeli government had ever organized a demonstration against the rule of law. No Israeli prime minister had ever urged his supporters to take to the streets and call for the arrests of the state prosecutors and police investigators tasked with handling suspicions of his criminal wrongdoing. But that's what occurred for the first time ever Nov. 26 in front of the Tel Aviv Art Museum. Several thousand ardent fans of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu showed up, rather than the larger masses that the Likud predicted, but their message was loud and clear and the event plainly showed that the prime minister is willing to sacrifice the state and its institutions to avoid prosecution.

On the same day, Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit addressed a conference of jurists in the southern town of Eilat, mounting an attack of unprecedented ferocity. “We are a state body. We act on its behalf and in its name and represent it in legal proceedings. Sadly, the dignified approach we take is not always embraced by others. I am hearing expressions that don’t have a place in public discourse directed at the law enforcement system and certain senior officials in it. I am hearing threats. I am hearing lies. I am hearing baseless slander. That is simply shocking,” Mandelblit said. He praised state prosecutor Shai Nitzan, who has been specifically targeted by Netanyahu and his allies, as a “civil servant in every bone in his body, a top-notch jurist, an honest and decent man.” He offered similar praise for another target of Netanyahu’s attempts to delegitimize law enforcement authorities, prosecutor Liat Ben Ari, whom he called a “true daughter of lions,” referring to her family name which in Hebrew means “Child of a lion.” “She is a true fighter, guided by the rule of law. The fact that Shai and Liat are walking around with bodyguards merely for doing their jobs is totally inconceivable.”

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