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Israeli attorney general says Netanyahu acting illegally, violating conflict-of-interest deal

An unnamed official close to Netanyahu rejects the attorney general’s conclusion

Attorney General Gali Baharav-Miara attends a conference of the Israeli chapter of the Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC), in Tel Aviv, July 5, 2022. (Photo: Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)

Israeli Attorney General Gali Baharav-Miara on Friday issued a scathing rebuke of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu following his public speech in which he said he will personally get involved in the judicial reforms.

Baharav-Miara wrote that Netanyahu's intention to be involved in the reform process is “illegal and tainted by a conflict of interest.” In 2020, the prime minister signed conflict-of-interest deal which prohibits him from making senior law enforcement and judicial appointments, or playing any role in legislative matters which could affect his ongoing trial for corruption charges.

“In your speech last night, you referred to the initiatives concerning the judicial system and, in particular, to the composition of the committee for the appointment of judges, and announced that you are now directly involved in these initiatives,” said the attorney general. 

“In doing so, you violated the ruling of the Supreme Court, according to which, as a prime minister accused of crimes, you must refrain from taking actions that give rise to a reasonable fear of the existence of a conflict of interest between your personal interests relating to the criminal proceedings and your role as prime minister,” Baharav-Miara stated. 

An unnamed official close to Netanyahu rejected the attorney general’s claims. 

“Every sane person understands that at this time of national crisis that has internal and external consequences for the State of Israel, the prime minister must act to try to bring about as broad as possible national consensus, to prevent violence, and to ensure law and order and the day-to-day functioning of the state,” said the source.

In his speech on Thursday evening, Netanyahu claimed the Judicial Selection Law would strengthen Israeli democracy by balancing and diversifying the power of the court system. 

“The law that will pass next week in the Knesset is a law that does not control the court – it balances and diversifies it,” Netanyahu asserted. “It opens the doors of the court to views and publics and vast sectors that hitherto were excluded from it.”

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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