'Attorney General won't recommend on indictment until 2019'

Deputy Defense Minister speaks to Arutz Sheva about new elections, investigations into PM Netanyahu, and more.

Benny Tucker ,

Rabbi Eli Ben Dahan
Rabbi Eli Ben Dahan
Eliran Aharon

Deputy Defense Minister Rabbi Eli Ben Dahan (Jewish Home) on Friday spoke to Arutz Sheva about the recent "coalition crisis" and his party's policies.

The coalition crisis began last month, when haredi lawmakers leveled an ultimatum, threatening to block the 2019 budget bill unless the government passes legislation protecting draft deferments for full-time yeshiva students, since the current law was set to expire. It was averted earlier this week, when the government succeeded in arriving at a compromise.

"None of the parties had any real desire to hold new elections," he said. "Most of the parties would retain their current number of seats, and some would lose seats. So why would they want new elections?"

"Israel's government is functioning well, and doing good things which have not been done for years in the areas of education, agriculture, justice, security, and the government also passed a law adding four billion shekels for people with disabilities, Holocaust survivors, and housing.

"This government works properly, and there are good relationships between its members. We made a framework for the draft law, and it will need to be approved during the summer Knesset session."

Regarding the investigations of Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Ben Dahan said he does not expect the Attorney General to issue a recommendation in the coming year.

"The Attorney General won't recommend anything in the coming year, maybe at the beginning of 2019," he said. "Let's see what the recommendation is, and what, if anything, the charges are, and if so, whether it's bribery, G-d forbid, or accepting benefits. There are huge differences [between the two."

Netanyahu was investigated for "Case 1000," which which deals with the gifts Netanyahu and his wife received from wealthy friends over decades, and "Case 2000," which alleges a deal between Netanyahu and owner/publisher Arnon “Noni” Mozes of Yediot Ahronot.

A third case, dubbed "Case 4000," centers on suspicions that Netanyahu provided chief Bezeq shareholder Shaul Elovitch with regulatory benefits in exchange for sympathetic coverage to Netanyahu and his wife on the Walla! news website, which is owned by Elovitch as well.

Last month, police called for Netanyahu to be indicted for Cases 1000 and 2000. The decision to indict Netanyahu is up to Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit, who has not yet reached a decision on the matter.

Ben Dahan also said that his party, the Jewish Home, needs to differentiate itself from the Likud.

"We saw a jump in the polls, but we always need to differentiate ourselves in the policies we stand for. These policies stem from our religious beliefs, from the strength of our belief and faith in the Land of Israel, and not only from worries about the security situation," he said.

"We want to settle the Land of Israel, because it is our land and our country. So there are huge differences between us and Likud on this, and other areas as well. I hope that what happened in the previous elections, where seats went back and forth from Likud to the Jewish Home because of fears that the Likud would fall and become unable to form a government, will not happen in the coming elections. That is, it probably won't happen," he concluded.