Things have to move. An entire year has gone on this issue. The [default election date at the] end of 2019 was moved up to April 2019 for [Netanyahu’s] legal needs and to help build his escape route from justice،” Gantz charged، a reference to Likud’s preconditioning for coalition partners to support immunity for Netanyahu، as the Times of Israel said. 2019 was “a lost year،” Gantz added. “Instead of a government that makes sure the country moves ahead، it’s causing the country to sink.”
Netanyahu is facing indictments، pending a hearing، in three criminal probes. The pre-indictment hearings with Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit are scheduled for October 2-3، after Mandelblit declined earlier this month to delay them due to the September 17 elections. At the Blue and White faction meeting، party co-chair Yair Lapid alleged that the prime minister had built a vast “brainwashing machine” of right-wing media، as he complained all the while of the media’s left-wing bias.
“I want to remind you about something regarding this election: Netanyahu has two newspapers working for him، his own television station، and radio broadcasters who get their messaging directly from [Netanyahu confidant] Natan Eshel. He has unlimited funds، no one knows from where. He pours hundreds of millions into social networks. He has government ministers who crawl at his feet، without an opinion of their own. He doesn’t give speeches. He doesn’t give interviews. He’s in a bunker. But he’s built a megaphone،” Lapid said.
“For twenty years he’s been building a corrupt machine، huge، which works only for him. A brainwashing machine، which spews vast amounts of poison. And then he whines that the media is left-wing. He spends every day looking for another [controversial left-wing artist Yair] Garbuz to be offended by، so he can say he’s being persecuted. But who’s left to persecute him? Half the media is paralyzed by fear and the other half works for him.”
Some of the corruption charges Netanyahu faces concern attempts to influence how the media has covered him.
Attorney General Mandelblit announced in mid-February his intention to indict Netanyahu، pending the hearing، on fraud and breach of trust charges in three cases، and on a bribery charge in one of them.