Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit on Wednesday aroused the anger of MK Yoav Kish (Likud), chairman of the Knesset's Interior Committee, when he asked to cancel a discussion planned for Thursday on the impact of reported assertions made by Roni Ritman, who formerly headed the Lahav 433 police investigative unit, on investigations against the Netanyahu family.
Ritman headed investigations which led to the indictment of Sara Netanyahu, as well as Cases 1000, 2000, and 4000, which deal with bribery charges against the prime minister.
Kish had called the meeting to investigate a possible conflict of interest in the investigations against the Netanyahus, following reports in the Haaretz and Maariv newspapers which indicated that Ritman suspected the Netanyahu family of being behind a sexual harassment complaint lodged against him - even as he headed the Netanyahu investigations.
“We will examine how the prime minister's investigation took place when the responsible investigator believed that Netanyahu is running a campaign against him for sexual harassment,” Kish declared.
However, Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit on Wednesday asked Kish to cancel the hearing, asserting that it could “harm investigations that are underway” and questioning the motivations behind it.
"From the subject of the meeting, as well as the remarks made by MK Kish in his press release, it appears that the planned meeting is likely to constitute an infringement - would that it was unintentional - into the sphere of law enforcement ... It seems that it may even harm the investigations that are underway in a manner that could be seen, Heaven forbid, as an attempt to divert justice.”
Kish did not take kindly to the request, responding in a letter to the attorney general, "With all due respect, the law enforcement system is not extraterritorial. It is part of the executive branch, and therefore it is subject to the scrutiny of the legislative branch, which is obligated to examine such serious claims which undermine the public’s trust in the law enforcement system.”
"I am obliged to note that your attempt or your request to stop this discussion or to influence any of those invited to it, or, Heaven forbid, to accuse elected officials of inappropriate behavior is very serious. I will insist on the right of the public to know that the law enforcement agencies at whose helm [you] stand are functioning properly.”
Kish also emphasized that the meeting would avoid getting into matters related to current investigations. "I will not get into any investigation that is still underway. Any relevant representative who comes will be obliged to refuse to answer questions that arise if they disrupt investigations or are likely to create such an impression."