Netanyahu Accuses His Accuser of Attempted Coup D’état
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu continued his unprecedented attack on Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit on Tuesday, accusing the highest-ranking judicial figure in the land of orchestrating a “coup d’état” against him. “Mandelblit is attempting to cancel the democratic decision made by millions [of voters],” wrote Netanyahu on his Facebook page, adding, “and this is what they brazenly call ‘the rule of law.’” The reason for Netanyahu’s ire is the attorney general’s letter of reply to the permit committee, who is charged with ruling whether Netanyahu can receive donations from friends and relatives in order to finance his legal battles. He is currently standing trial for several corruption charges. After denying Netanyahu’s three previous requests, the committee was forced to reopen the issue when Netanyahu claimed ‘extreme circumstances’ had arisen with his indictment. In his letter, Mandelblit answered the committee members’ queries about the legality of the issue, saying that Netanyahu’s receiving about $3 million as a gift from his acquaintance Spencer Partridge – who also happens to be a witness in the prime minister’s trial – is to be considered an illegal gift. Based on the attorney general’s opinion, the committee is expected to deny Netanyahu’s request. In the historic trial, which began last month, the prime minister is facing charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust. Netanyahu is accused of, among other things, accepting gifts worth hundreds of thousands of dollars from friends and acquaintances while in office in exchange for promoting their personal interests, and pushing lenient regulatory bills through parliament in order to aid press moguls, who in exchange were to provide the prime minister with favorable reporting in their news outlets.