Israel’s attorney general postpones Netanyahu’s hearing to October

Israel’s Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit told Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday that he would postpone in three months the hearing on the three investigation cases against him, which was set for July.

In a letter to Netanyahu’s lawyers, the attorney general stated that the hearing would be held on October 2 and 3, and that if necessary, another hearing would be scheduled for the following week.

Netanyahu had asked to schedule the hearing after May 14, 2020, that is, a year’s delay from the day he applied for a postponement, but Mandelblit refused.

Mandelblit clarified in his letter that the postponement given to Netanyahu beyond the original three months that were given for this purpose exceeds the time frame prescribed in the regulations.

“There is no justification for the hearing to be set for another year, which will harm the vital public interest in making a decision in the case as soon as possible, and in the circumstances of the matter there is no substantive justification,” Mandelblit wrote.

Last February, Mandelblit announced the filing of indictments subject to a hearing against Netanyahu in three cases, called “Case 1000,” “Case 2000” and “Case 4000.”

Netanyahu is expected to be charged with fraud and breach of trust in all three cases, as well as with bribery in case 4000.

In case 1000, Netanyahu and his family allegedly received expensive cigars, champagne, and jewelry worth about 1 million new shekels (about 277,000 U.S. dollars) from Arnon Milchan, an Israeli businessman and Hollywood tycoon, between 2007 and 2016.

In case 2000, Netanyahu is suspected of conducting negotiations with the publisher of the Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth, Arnon Mozes, for positive coverage in exchange for limiting the power of the rival newspaper “Israel Hayom,” owned by Netanyahu’s close friend, U.S. billionaire Sheldon Adelson.

In case 4000, the Israeli prime minister is suspected of granting benefits to Shaul Elovitch, former control-holder of Bezeq, Israel’s largest telecom company, in exchange for positive coverage on Bezeq’s “Walla” news website.

Netanyahu denies all the suspicions against him and claims that this is an attempt to oust him from the position of prime minister.