Benjamin Netanyahu: Israeli PM committed illegal act by engaging in judicial reform, prosecutor general says

Jerusalem (CNN) Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu committed an illegal act on Thursday by announcing he would be directly involved in the government’s move to change the country’s judicial system, Attorney General Gary Bahalaf Miara told him in an open letter Friday. Told.

“Last night you publicly announced that you were going to violate a Supreme Court ruling and to act contrary to the opinion of government legal counsel. ” she said.

The move sends tens of thousands of demonstrators into the streets of Israel, further raising stakes in a nationwide dispute that has caused reservists to refuse training. US President Joe Biden.

Prime Minister Netanyahu leaves 10 Downing Street after meeting with British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak in London on Friday, March 24, 2023.

This comes after Netanyahu’s government passed a law on Thursday that effectively strips courts of the power to declare a prime minister unfit.

Hours later, in an address to the nation, Netanyahu said he would be personally involved in a controversial series of steps to overhaul the country’s judicial system. Until then, the campaign had been openly led by Netanyahu allies, including Justice Minister Yariv Levin and Simcha Rothman, chairman of the Knesset’s Constitutional, Legal and Judicial Commission.

“Until today my hands were tied. No more. I will participate in this event. I will do my best to reach a solution and calm the spirit of the country for the people and the country.” Netanyahu said in his letter. thursday night speech.

Baharav-Miara’s letter referred to a court-ordered conflict of interest agreement that Netanyahu accepted to allow him to form a government despite being on trial for multiple corruption charges.

“As prime minister charged with a crime, you must refrain from actions that give rise to a reasonable fear of a conflict of interest between your personal interests in criminal proceedings and your role as prime minister,” she wrote to him. .

A source close to Netanyahu, who met with British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak in London on Friday, denied he had broken the law or violated any conflict of interest agreement.

A source said: “Yesterday’s Prime Minister’s announcement had nothing to do with his personal affairs.

The dispute is likely to go all the way to the Supreme Court.

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