Netanyahu Takes Aim at Graft Probes ahead of “Israel” Polls
“Israeli” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has in recent days taken aim at what seems to be his main opponent ahead of upcoming elections: corruption investigations that may lead to his indictment.
In a widely criticized social media video at the weekend and elsewhere, Netanyahu has spoken out against the possibility that the attorney general will announce his decision on whether to indict him before April 9 elections.
Polls show that Netanyahu is likely to win despite the investigations hanging over him, but a move to indict him pending a hearing could shake up the campaign.
With that in mind, he has publicly urged the attorney general to postpone his announcement, leading to criticism that his comments are out of bounds.
After his video on Saturday, the so-called former Supreme Court justice Eliyahu Matza compared Netanyahu's rhetoric to that of a crime boss.
In the video, Netanyahu stands before a map of the Middle East, smiling as if recounting a joke, and refers to amputation as punishment in certain countries.
He says that a man who has his arm cut off following a conviction for stealing cannot get it back after winning on appeal - hinting that polls influenced by a hearing in the graft cases against him could similarly not be undone.
"You don't start a hearing before the elections if you can't conclude it before the elections," he says.
If Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit announces his intention to indict him, Netanyahu gets a final chance to defend himself in a hearing before the charges are filed.
Netanyahu, facing possible indictment in three separate probes, says he has no intention of resigning if called in for such a hearing before the vote.
Netanyahu pushed for polls in April - seven months before they are due - because he would like to combat potential charges with a fresh electoral mandate, according to many analysts.
Source: News Agencies, Edited by website team