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'We see how it ended in Washington,' defense minister says

Gantz: ‘Incitement’ by Netanyahu puts attorney general’s life in danger

Blue and White chief says PM may not wish harm to Avichai Mandelblit but he has no control over where things are headed

Blue and White party leader Benny Gantz attends a Channel 12 News conference in Jerusalem on March 7, 2021. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Blue and White party leader Benny Gantz attends a Channel 12 News conference in Jerusalem on March 7, 2021. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Blue and White party leader Benny Gantz on Tuesday said he fears that incitement by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu against the justice system poses a threat to the life of Attorney General Avichai Mandleblit.

Netanyahu has repeatedly attacked justice officials, law enforcement, and the media, accusing them of a witch hunt that led to his indictment in three corruption cases for which is currently on trial. He has been particularly scathing against Mandelblit, whom he appointed and who served previously as his cabinet secretary, since the attorney general indicted him in 2019.

“I am glad that Mandelblit has security but am worried that he doesn’t have enough security guards. We see how it ended in Washington,” Gantz, the defense minister, told Channel 12 in an interview, referring to the January storming of the US Capitol building by supporters of Donald Trump.

“I think there is a threat to Mandelblit’s life,” he said. “The prime minister is fueling [incitement] against the justice system.”

“I think the attorney general could be harmed. Even if the prime minister doesn’t want it to happen, he has no control over what will happen,” Gantz continued.

Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit speaks at an event at Bar Ilan University, March 4, 2020. (Flash90)

Last month Mandelblit lamented the fact that the chief prosecutor in the Netanyahu trial, Liat Ben-Ari, requires bodyguards after receiving repeated threats. Security around Mandelblit was increased even before he filed the Netanyahu indictment over fears he may be attacked. The judges in the trial have also reportedly been given increased protection.

On Monday Gantz used his power as alternate prime minister to halt a cabinet process of appointing several permanent ministers. Gantz was protesting the fact that it did not include his own appointment as permanent justice minister.

Mandelblit notified Netanyahu and Gantz last week they must speedily appoint permanent ministers to replace six acting positions that are set to expire.

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