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Netanyahu compares cutting off arm of accused man to pre-indictment hearings

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is claiming the Jewish state is a key ally for Arab nations against Iran
Leo CORREA (POOL/AFP/File)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Saturday once again urged the Attorney General not to summon him for an indictment hearing before the elections.

In a video posted on his Facebook page, Netanyahu made a joke to explain why it would be absurd to summon him.

“A man is walking down the street in a Middle Eastern country…with a prosthesis. Someone asks him: What happened? He answers: I was convicted of theft in the first trial…(and) I was declared innocent on appeal. Can someone give him his arm back?” Netanyahu asks.

“Can someone give you the election back? Don’t start a hearing before the election, if the hearing won’t be completed by the election,” he concludes in the video in a clear message to Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit.

Opposition lawmaker and leader of Yesh Atid party, Yair Lapid, ridiculed Netanyahu’s video, saying it was absurd to compare Israeli elections to the scenario he put forth from Saudi Arabia.

Police have recommended Netanyahu’s indictment in three separate cases -- dubbed Cases 1000, 2000, and 4000 -- which deal with various incidence of bribery, fraud, as well as quid pro quo arrangements for favorable press coverage of Netanyahu and his family. The Israeli Prime Minister fears that Mandeblit, who is reviewing the recommendations, will announce his decision before the elections.

Abir Sultan (Pool/AFP/File)

In a video statement posted to Twitter on Thursday, Netanyahu said that Mandelblit should not initiate hearings related to the charges if the procedures will extend beyond the April 9 elections.

“It is unacceptable that the public will only hear the claims of one side and not the other,” Netanyahu said.

The Israeli leader, went on to accuse “the left” of applying years of “thuggish and inhumane pressure” on Mandelblit to announce an indictment.

“They are trying to force the Attorney General to undertake gross interference in the election by inviting me to a [pre-indictment] hearing, when it’s known in advance that the hearing cannot be finished before the election," he charged.

Despite the corruption allegations against Netanyahu, a survey conducted by the Maariv daily on Friday showed that his Likud party would still win as many as 30 seats in parliament even if Mandelblit initiates a hearing on the premier’s potential indictment before voters take to the ballot box.

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