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In implicit threat, Netanyahu ally urges AG to resign, says more dirt will air

Miki Zohar criticized after saying that recording of Mandelblit slamming then-state attorney supports unsubstantiated theory that he was blackmailed into filing charges against PM

By MICHAEL BACHNER and TOI STAFF
October 14, 2020

Coalition whip Miki Zohar, a staunch ally of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, railed against Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit on Wednesday morning, calling for his resignation and warning that more damaging recordings could soon be published after a TV report aired taped phone conversations in which Mandelblit is heard complaining bitterly about Shai Nitzan, the state attorney at the time, for failing to close a criminal case against him.

The controversial comment, widely perceived as a threat that additional recordings would be published if the attorney general doesn’t step down and withdraw charges against the prime minister, was condemned by Netanyahu and by Mandelblit himself.

The release of the tapes by Channel 12 on Tuesday was seen by allies of Netanyahu — whom Mandelblit indicted on corruption charges earlier this year — as supporting an unsubstantiated conspiracy theory that the attorney general had been blackmailed by the state attorney, prosecutors and police into filing the charges as part of a “witch hunt” aimed at ousting the premier.

The newly aired recordings, while highlighting a beef between Mandelblit and Nitzan years before the Netanyahu investigations began, do not provide evidence for any such blackmail.

Nevertheless, Zohar told Radio 103FM: “We are just waiting for more of the truth to come out, proving that what we have been saying is true, about corrupt coordination between Shai Nitzan and Avichai Mandelblit, who was in fact blackmailed by Shai Nitzan into filing the indictments against Netanyahu at any price.”

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