Striking a Deal with Netanyahu will Save Israel’s Rule of Law

March 4, 2019

2 min read


It’s a sad day for Israel. For decades now, every prime minister has also been a criminal suspect. The only comfort is that despite corruption, the rule of law presides. No one gets a free pass — not even the most powerful person in the country, and not even the president. But that’s hardly any comfort, since whatever Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit says Thursday will be met with public outrage.

It’s not that the majority of the public thinks the rule of law in Israel is corrupt. But we do have to admit that most of the participants in both sides of the public debate about Netanyahu’s guilt, have made up their mind and taken a stand on the matter, without waiting for the attorney general to share his own conclusions.

A rigid perspective leads many members of the public to believe that some within the law enforcement authorities are acting from personal motivation rather than a desire to get to the truth. This doesn’t mean that whatever Mandelblit says is inevitably based on dishonest motives — far from. But it’s hard to shake the feeling that the decision about Netanyahu’s affairs was influenced by external pressures. Too many activists, journalists and politicians have already decided what the verdict will be. They have preached, they have protested, they have yelled. Every leak has become a headline and every headline has become a conviction. High-ranking judicial figures have been dragged into this media campaign against the PM.

It’s important to clarify that even if external pressures and personal motivations have been at work in regards to Netanyahu’s cases, it doesn’t make him free of corruption. And even if the criminal charges against him cannot be proven — and I do hope that this will be the case— the prime minister’s actions are riddled with corruption. Even though he and his supporters do raise some rightful claims about a public campaign of slander, leaks and pressure — there are undeniable facts describing gifts of phenomenal value, dubious decisions that aided his inner circle, unreasonable pressure on the media in the pursuit of positive news coverage, and on and on it goes.

All of this clarifies that Netanyahu has to give up the role of prime minister. The indictments to be announced Thursday don’t deal with a one-time glitch, but rather with a grim, ongoing narrative.

This is the home stretch in the campaign for Netanyahu’s future. Both camps are ready for  battle, but no one will be the winner in this fight, and we will all be the losers. If there’s still a chance to stop this fight from ripping Israeli society apart irreparably, it’s best that Mandelblit reaches a deal with Netanyahu.

The deal should include wiping out the charges against the prime minister in exchange for his resignation. There is no need to seek harsh judgment, but rather let’s make a deal to avoid undermining Israel’s rule of law. In truth, a deal could be its savior.

Reprinted with author’s permission from YNet News

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