Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan and Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, whose portfolios touch directly on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s investigations, called for the public to remain calm Wednesday, after the police said there is evidence to charge him with two counts of bribery.
“Let’s calm down the discourse that’s developed here in the past day,” Erdan said in a speech to the Knesset. “I think we all need to show some restraint.”
Erdan pointed out that the police’s job in relation to the allegations ended after they gave the attorney-general their recommendations.
“The public will not decide, nor will the journalists or the politicians and their statements. Rather, in the case of elected officials, only the attorney-general’s stance determines if there is enough evidence for an indictment. I suggest we stop all the pressure, the attacks and the accusations on all sides,” he said.
Erdan says he supports the police in doing its job, and he supports the prime minister.
“Like every elected official and every citizen in the street, the prime minister also deserves the presumption of innocence,” Erdan added.
Similarly, Shaked lamented, “There is a value that has been eroded in this country, and that is the presumption of innocence. Every person, including the prime minister, deserves the presumption of innocence.”
Speaking at the Local Government Conference of KKL-JNF in Tel Aviv, Shaked also pointed out that the attorney-general is the one who makes the decision whether to indict the prime minister.
“The fact that [Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit] was a defense attorney, a prosecutor, a judge and cabinet secretary gives him experience and a broad view,” she said. “We need to be careful not to criminalize the political process. I know Mandelblit and State Attorney Shai Nitzan well. I trust them to make a clean, immaculate, professional decision.”
The justice minister said she is “not a partner to the attacks on the police in recent hours,” and that the police technically do not make recommendations, they “summarize the investigation and say whether there is evidence of crimes.”