Netanyahu Rejects ‘Astounding’ Claim He Seeks to Tarnish Attorney General’s Image

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Friday that an article published in Haaretz, which claimed that Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit is convinced the prime minister is attempting to publicly destroy him, is "another case of astounding, fictional, libel against me."

"I was stunned to read Gidi Weitz's article in Haaretz," Netanyahu wrote on his Twitter account. Netanyahu compared the claims in the article to ones made by former Police Commissioner Roni Alsheich and former head of Lahav 433, Roni Ritman, saying that both had accused him of ousting them with "false and absurd libel."  

Weitz's article claimed that "The attorney general is convinced that Netanyahu, especially now that he’s been indicted, will do everything in his power to destroy the law enforcement and judicial systems." Weitz claimed that Mendelblit has become so worried about Netanyahu and his inner circle that he has told several subordinates that he talks on the phone as if he were being wiretapped and travels from place to place as if he were being followed.

Several minutes before the prime minister's Tweet, his son, Yair Netanyahu, wrote that while Mendelblit served as Chief Military Attorney he "adopted and cemented the UN's anti-Semitic Goldstone Report, developed collaborations between the army and radical left-wing organizations like Breaking the Silence, pursued IDF soldiers who killed terrorists, and gave orders limiting combat soldiers in times of war, in ways that cost soldiers' lives."

Yair Netanyahu testifying in court after suing an activist for libel, Tel Aviv, October 12, 2018Moti Milrod

In February, Haaretz reported that Netanyahu was attempting to dig up dirt on Mendelblit and had ordere4d deputies to try and obtain the full transcripts of the Harpaz affair. Mendelblit played a role in that case when he was military advocate general around a decade ago. The Harpaz affair concerned attempts to improperly sway the process for selecting the military chief of staff to succeed Gabi Ashkenazi in 2011.