Police investigate 'Mandelblit is a collaborator' graffiti amid Netanyahu probe
(AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner)
For the second time in recent weeks, police are investigating an act of vandalism directed at Israeli Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit who is currently reviewing investigation materials before deciding whether or not to indict Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in three corruption cases.
“Mandelblit is a collaborator” was sprayed on a wall adjacent to a coastal highway in Israel’s north by unknown vandals, according to a statement from police on Wednesday.
Mandelblit is currently examining police recommendations for Netanyahu’s indictment for bribery and corruption in at least three separate cases -- dubbed Cases 1000, 2000, and 4000.
The graffiti appeared as conflicting reports circle regarding when Mandelblit will reveal his decision on whether or not to indict Netanyahu. If the he chooses to publish his decision before the April 9 elections, Netanyahu’s supporters fear it could hurt his Likud party’s chances. Mandelblit faces pressure from both ends of Israel’s political spectrum, with many critics of Netanyahu pushing him to publish his decision as soon as possible.
Mandelblit’s personal security details was increased in recent days following an assessment by Israel Police and Justice Ministry and in light of unspecified “intelligence” in their possession, a report by Channel 10 news said.
Mandelblit was given a bodyguard two years ago amid weekly protests staged in front of his home by left-wing demonstrators calling for Netanyahu’s indictment, the network said.
The report came a day following reports that Mandelblit’s father’s gravestone had been desecrated in an apparently targeted attack. The vandalism was immediately condemned by an array of Israeli officials, including Netanyahu, who demanded a probe into the incident.
But the premier also questioned the timing of the reports of the vandalism only 10 days after it was reported by Mandeblit to police and in the wake of a newspaper report warning the attorney general, in remarks attributed to Netanyahu, against indicting him on corruption charges.
In “Case 1,000”, police allege Netanyahu accepted around 1 million shekels ($280,000) worth of luxury gifts from a number of wealthy benefactors in exchange for favorable government treatment.
“Case 2,000” centers on an alleged arrangement with Yedioth Ahronoth publisher Arnon Mozes to limit circulation of the newspaper's main rival in exchange for more favorable coverage.
In “Case 4000”, police suspect that Netanyahu granted regulatory benefits to telecommunications giant Bezeq in exchange for positive news coverage by the Walla news website, which is owned by Bezeq’s controlling shareholder.
Netanyahu has spurned the police recommendations as part of a “witch hunt” against him and his family by political rivals and a hostile media seeking to topple him.
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