by Caroline Glick
And Netanyahu’s call for investigation of the investigators.
Last Thursday in Israel, the politicians were the big story. Yisrael
Beiteinu chairman Avigdor Lieberman was the villain who had held the
country hostage for nearly a year as he fed his narcissistic personality
The left’s latest flagship, the Blue and White Party, is all the
once vibrant political camp can put together now that it has lost its
ideology. With its deity of peace killed by suicide bombers and
missiles, and its socialism statues crushed under the weight of bankrupt
government companies, all the left has left is “blue and white.” The
party stands on two planks: destroying Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin
Netanyahu and eternalizing the regime of Israel’s unelected bureaucrats.
The party’s figurehead—Benny Gantz—was tempted to join a unity
government with Netanyahu that would guarantee he served as prime
minister under a rotation agreement. But his comrades wouldn’t let him.
Joining a government with Netanyahu would be a betrayal of their very
reason for existing. So, unhappily, he walked away.
And then there was Netanyahu himself. On Thursday, his supporters
shook their heads in frustration and his enemies clapped their hands in
glee at the sight of Israel’s greatest statesman, the leader the public
wants to keep in office, unable to form a government.
The conversation about Israel’s politicians lasted less than 24 hours.
At four in the afternoon, Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit’s
office announced that at 7:30 in the evening he would announce his
decision to indict Netanyahu. The underlying message was crystal clear:
The day after Gantz returned his mandate to form a government to
President Reuven Rivlin after he failed to get a sufficient number of
coalition partners to build a government, Mandelblit ruled that there’s
no point in talking about whether or not Israel is going to new
elections in March.
Voters don’t decide anything. The lawyers do. Politicians are
irrelevant. The only people who count in Israel today are the unelected
attorneys who run the country.
But then we already knew that. And the fact that—as
expected—Mandelblit announced sternly that he is indicting Netanyahu on
three charges of breach of trust and one charge of bribery was at best
anticlimactic. The game was up—if it was ever in play—in February.
Last February, at the height of the first election campaign of the
year, when Netanyahu and his right-wing coalition partners were leading
in all polls by a wide margin, Mandelblit took the unprecedented—and
legally dubious—step of announcing his intention to indict Netanyahu on
those charges—pending a pre-indictment hearing. The moment he made his
announcement, the right began to slide in the polls. The Leader had
spoken, and we had no right to question him.
Blue and White’s scattershot campaign converged around Mandelblit’s
“recommendation.” The left had a rallying cry and a reason to vote.
Netanyahu’s neck was on the chopping block.
Ever since Mandelblit gave his “recommendations,” he and his
comrades have been the only political actors with any power to speak of.
Our actual elected leaders were rendered bit players in the lawyers’
regime. Mandelblit’s announcement Thursday just made it official.
To the cheers of Israel’s corrupt media, for the past three years
our legal overlords have gnawed away at all aspects of political power
in Israel, and in the process—not that they cared—they corrupted
Israel’s legal system from top to bottom. From beginning to end, their
criminal persecution of Netanyahu has been a travesty of every norm in
democratic societies governed by the rule of law.
Carefully edited and wholly distorted recordings and transcripts of
police interrogations of Netanyahu, his wife, son and advisers were
systematically leaked to the media. The fact that every such leak was a
felony offense was of no matter. Netanyahu’s attorneys submitted request
after request for Mandelblit to order an investigation of the criminal
leaks. All were summarily and scornfully rejected.
As the probes escalated, overseen by State Prosecutor Shai Nitzan,
police investigators extorted Netanyahu’s closest advisers to coerce
them into becoming state witnesses against the most successful and
admired prime minister Israel has ever had. Investigators threatened
Netanyahu’s former spokesman Nir Hefetz that they would destroy his
family and bankrupt him if he didn’t turn on Netanyahu. They finally
succeeded in breaking him after incarcerating him in a flea-infested
jail cell for 15 nights, denying him sleep and medical treatment and
bringing a young woman he knew into an interrogation room next to him
and then threatening to destroy his family.
In the earlier stages of the probes, then police inspector
general Roni Alsheich spun wild, unsubstantiated and frankly insane
conspiracy theories about Netanyahu, including the claim that he hired
private investigators to tail police investigators. Alsheich then went
out of his way to prevent the government from appointing his successor
as he approached the end of his term of service. Still today, more than a
year later, Israel has no police inspector general.
Then, of course, there is Mandelblit himself. Mandelblit, who claims
not to have known about the abuse of witnesses—but then refused to
investigate the allegations. Mandelblit, who promised—after publishing
his “recommendations” for indictment at the height of the election
campaign—that he would approach Netanyahu’s pre-trial hearing with an
open mind. That promise was exposed as a lie when the chief prosecutor
Liat Ben-Ari left the hearing two days early to take her family on
safari in South Africa. Wouldn’t want a little thing like the prime
minister’s legal fate to ruin her chance to see the elephants.
The same Mandelblit refused to investigate Ben-Ari when recordings
emerged last month showing that she submitted a false deposition to a
court in relation to a lawsuit submitted against her by a former
Then, of course, there is the substance of the charges themselves.
The charge that Netanyahu accepted a bribe is based on an invented
notion that positive media coverage of a politician is bribery. The
notion that press coverage can be considered bribery exists nowhere in
the democratic world. No prosecutor in the world has ever indicted—or
investigated—a politician or media organization of having committed
bribery involving the provision of positive coverage.
Senior American jurists appeared before Mandelblit in Netanyahu’s
(self-evidently unserious) pre-indictment hearing to warn him that
pursuing bribery charges against politicians for receiving positive
coverage is a recipe for destroying freedom of the press and democracy
But then, that is the entire point of going after Netanyahu with
invented crimes. Now that Netanyahu has been charged for bribery—and
incidentally, he never even received positive coverage from the media
organ accused of providing it—every politician that gets on the lawyers’
bad side will be sweating bricks any time a reporter writes something
nice about him.
After Mandelblit made his prime-time announcement, Netanyahu pledged
to fight for his freedom and for the restoration of Israeli democracy
and the rule of law. In his speech Thursday night, he made an
impassioned appeal to his “decent” political rivals to join him in this
If any politicians doubt that Netanyahu’s struggle is their
struggle, they should look no further than the prosecution’s
announcement last week that it was opening a review, ahead of a criminal
probe—of Gantz’s role in the so-called “Fifth Dimension Affair.” The
Fifth Dimension was a start-up Gantz headed. Its sale for $14 million
allegedly violated standard procedures.
Maybe Gantz did nothing wrong. But then, Netanyahu is being indicted
for crimes that don’t exist. So it doesn’t matter. The message is
clear: Every politician is at the mercy of the prosecutors. Fall out of
line, and you will become a criminal suspect before you can say
It’s certainly true that the left shares the prosecutors’ hatred of
Netanyahu; Blue and White exists to destroy him. But all the leftist
politicians—and Lieberman—who are celebrating today need to understand
that the Netanyahu they love to hate is their best friend and defender
today. If Netanyahu is found guilty of crimes that were invented for the
purpose of destroying him, then their goose will be cooked along with
Politicians may make us happy or sad, frustrated or infuriated. But
today, in post-democratic Israel, it hardly matters. Netanyahu called
last night for an “investigation of the investigators.” Unless our
elected officials join forces to heed his call, they—and the voters who
elected them—will never be relevant again.
Follow Middle East and Terrorism on Twitter