Hand-picked by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to become Israel’s attorney general, Avichai Mandelblit is the first in history to indict his own boss. Netanyahu is the longest-serving Prime Minister in Israel’s history and is accused of some pretty serious crimes. The 56-year-old attorney general stood before two Israeli flags as he read out the charges of his boss and leader of Israel. Charges consist of a breach of trust, fraud, and bribery. It is a moment in time that shocked the world and something no one was expecting except for investigators who took the case. Mandelblit stated, “The decision to indict was made with a heavy heart but a whole heart.”
Mandelblit was born in Tel Aviv into a right-wing family, and he is an Orthodox Jew with six kids. In 2016, Netanyahu nominated Mandelblit for the spot of the attorney general, and not even he thought he would be bringing down the prime minister of his country. Daily, he worked alongside Netanyahu as the cabinet secretary and was influential and very well respected. Mandelblit was a senior lawyer supporting the Israeli army before he took on government roles. In 2004, he became the chief military advocate general and moved up to general in 2009.
Right-wingers criticized Mandelblit during the Gaza war between 2008 and 2009 for carrying out investigations of soldiers who were suspected of abuses. He left the army in 2014 and was accused of being part of the Harpaz affair, which produced false documents to appoint the army’s chief of staff. The investigation and charges were dropped against Mandelblit, and no indictment was made.
As attorney general, many tasks were almost impossible and was challenging and stressful. Mandelblit continued to work closely alongside Netanyahu as he represented the Israeli government in all the legal cases brought before him. Shortly after taking on the position, he faced his toughest challenge to date. The Israeli police put in front of the attorney general three cases of suspicion, which dealt with his boss, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Many people in high positions have tough decisions to make, but this one was the toughest Mandelblit had in front of him on whether he should indict his “boss.”
Mandelblit is now a target of anger and hatred from supporters of the prime minister. As he made the announcement, he began with, “It was a hard and sad day for Israel to indict a leader. The citizens of Israel, all of us, and myself look up to the elected officials, and first and foremost, to the prime minister. Law enforcement is not a choice. It is not a matter of right or left. It’s not a matter of politics.” As he closed his statements, Mandelblit refused to give interviews or take any questions. He simply made the announcement and was done. Many commentators speak and speculate when it comes to Mandelblit and his political inclinations.
Quietly Mandelblit is still influential after the announcement and was pretty much thrown into the spotlight while having to be the bearer of bad news. Israel sees him as a man who has one of the most significant decisions in history to make when it comes to the prime minister.
Netanyahu fought back swiftly and accused the legal system and the Israeli police of being bias. It could be months before any trial takes place, and if Netanyahu were to be found guilty, appeals could go on for years. He stated in an online video, “We will accept the decisions of the court, there is no doubt about that, and we will act in accordance with the rule of law. What is going on here is an attempt to stage a coup against the prime minister.”
The Israeli prime minister is facing the same problems President Trump is in America. The only difference is there is no indictment against President Trump. There have been many issues with the elections, and there has been almost a year without a fully functioning government. If Parliament cannot find a candidate who is supported by 61 or more lawmakers of the 120, a third election will take place. Amit Segal, a columnist from the Yediot Ahronot daily, stated, “The prime minister’s political situation is painfully clear: his chances of reaching 61 seats are almost non-existent.”
Netanyahu supporters expect the prime minister to go down fighting, but other critics say, “The end is clear. The question is how bad the route getting there is going to be.”