Yinon Magal is one of news media’s most prominent supporters of former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. With rumors that a plea bargain could be in the works, possibly including Netanyahu’s agreement to retire from political life, Magal has launched a crowdfunding site to pay for Netanyahu’s legal expenses, in the hope that a sizeable response will persuade the former leader to persevere in clearing his name and not come to a compromise.
“Friends, here it is – a crowdfunding page to raise money to cover Netanyahu’s legal expenses. He is not alone – and this is the least we can do to show him that we’re there for him. I’ve made my donation,” Magal announced.
Magal went out of his way to stress that he had not discussed the move with Netanyahu himself. “I didn’t ask him for his opinion. I just figured that even for someone wealthy, expenses that can mount into the tens of millions are not easy to bear, and could become a factor in deciding how to act. And as a person who believes that he is there fighting for me, too, it’s the least I could do.”
Another prominent Netanyahu supporter is Channel 14’s Shimon Riklin, who has appealed to Netanyahu not to reach a plea bargain with Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit. “Great leaders don’t make plea bargains,” Riklin said, “because history is liable to judge them as less than great if they do.
“A leader must follow his own truth, to the very end,” he added. “A leader is a public emissary, a revolutionary – and if that means sitting behind bars, then so be it. It’s not exactly pleasant to go to prison when you’re older, but are we just interested in comfort and abundance, or are we committed to ideology and the notion of life service? In the past, those who fought for Israel’s freedom died for that freedom. The strength of our spirit is what will determine our future.”
Another public figure who has proclaimed herself vehemently opposed to a plea bargain is Likud MK Galit Distel-Atbaryan, a long-time Netanyahu supporter. “If this ends with a plea bargain, it won’t just destroy the Likud party or the national camp – Zionism itself will be at risk,” she said.
Speaking on Galei Tzahal, she noted, “They tied him up in knots – no other politician has been persecuted to such an extent. Part of me wants to tell him, ‘Just finish up and take care of yourself,’ but if he signs a plea bargain, the legal oligarchy will have triumphed over democracy.”
Likud MK Shlomo Karhi also expressed his distaste with the idea of a plea bargain, saying, “I’m opposed to such deals as a matter of principle. The one who stands to gain from a plea bargain is Mandelblit himself, but Netanyahu knows that he’s not going to see justice done, so for him, personally, it’s a consideration. From a national perspective, however, our battle against the legal system will continue.”