Hundreds Protest Near AG’s Home against Netanyahu Plea Deal

Most Israelis oppose a plea deal in far-right former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s graft trial, according to three separate television polls published Sunday. Forty-six percent of respondents to a Channel 13 news poll said they were against a plea deal, 29% supported it, and 25% said they did not know.

The Kan public broadcaster published similar numbers: 49% believe Netanyahu’s trial should continue in court, 28% support a plea deal, and 23% have not formulated an opinion on the matter. And Channel 12 news’ poll found 51% are against a plea deal, 30% support it, and 19% are undecided.

Protests outside AG Avichai Mandelblit’s home as reports come in that he is close to a plea deal with former PM Netanyahu, January 15, 2022 (Photo: Crime Minister)

Talks on a possible plea deal for Netanyahu in his criminal trial have progressed in recent weeks, with a potential solution found to the major sticking point left between his team and state prosecutors, Israeli media reports said over the weekend.

Netanyahu has been resisting a deal primarily due to Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit’s demand that his actions be designated as carrying “moral turpitude” legally barring him from public service for seven years. In the polls published Sunday, opposition to such a deal appeared to be in consensus among all Israelis, regardless of their political affiliation, though likely for different reasons.

Saturday evening saw hundreds of protesters gather near the Petah Tikva home of the AG and demonstrate against any prospect of a plea deal with the former premier. The protesters called for Netanyahu’s trial to be allowed to come to its conclusion and for the judges to rule on whether he committed punishable offenses.

Hundreds of protesters came in the rain, accusing Mandelblit of “making a deal with the devil” and giving Netanyahu a “celebrity discount.” The demonstration was organized by protest movements Inquiry Now, The Democrats and Crime Minister. The protesters called to “investigate the AG” and called Mandelblit “The Netanyahu family consigliere.” “The plea agreement that is being hatched before our eyes causes significant damage to the concept of equality under the law and spits in the face of law-abiding citizens,” Crime Minister protest movement leader Amir Haskel said.

Talks on a possible plea deal for former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu in his criminal trial are progressing, with a potential solution found to the major sticking point left between Netanyahu’s team and state prosecutors, according to a television report Saturday. Netanyahu is on trial in three separate graft cases: fraud and breach of trust in Case 1000 and in Case 2000, and charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust in Case 4000. He denies all allegations against him, and says the charges were fabricated by a “biased police force and state prosecution service, overseen by a weak attorney general, in league with political opponents and the leftist media.”