Netanyahu probes: what will be the impact of Alsheich leaving office?

Police Commissioner Roni Alsheich.

What impact will the governing coalition’s choice of a new chief have on the probes against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu? Surprisingly, not much.

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Netanyahu faces potential corruption charges in Case 1000 (the “Illegal Gifts Affair”), Case 2000 (the “Yediot Ahronot-Yisrael Hayom Affair”) and Case 4000 (the “Bezeq-Walla! Affair”), and many have been worried that his government’s appointing a new police chief could derail the probes.

Some were so worried that they filed a petition to the High Court of Justice to get two members dismissed from a committee dealing with vetting police chief candidates.

The High Court agreed that the two members were too close to Netanyahu and might have a conflict of interest.

The prime minister got them to resign so his ministers could move forward with ousting Alsheich.

Netanyahu and Alsheich were not always enemies.

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Ironically, the prime minister had to almost beg him to take the job because Alsheich had been number two in the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) and wanted the top job there.

Early in his term, Alsheich took pains to protect the Netanyahu family, facing criticism from the media and Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit when he almost covered up the police recommendation to indict Sara Netanyahu in the “Prepared Food Affair”.

However, a series of events with each side offending the other eventually led to complete alienation. So when the police recommended indicting Netanyahu for bribery in cases 1000 and 2000 this past February, it did so loudly and fiercely.

This brings us back to why ousting Alsheich in December, instead of giving him an additional year or two as is often done, will not help Netanyahu.

The police have already done their damage in Cases 1000 and 2000.

The remaining case 4000 is nearly complete on The Police side of things, with no need for further questionings of the prime minister.

If anything, the main result of Netanyahu and his Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan making sure to replace Alsheich as early as possible will probably be that the police commissioner will be sure to send Mandelblit the police’s final recommendation to indict the prime minister in Case 4000 no later than December.

So Alsheich will get the last laugh.

In that case, his successor’s hands will be tied regarding the Netanyahu probes; the decision will already be fully in the hands of Mandelblit.

In June, The Jerusalem Post exclusively reported that Mandelblit will announce his intent to indict Netanyahu in Case 4000 by early 2019 and likely also regarding Case 1000.

From there it will be the High Court or the public – not the police – which will decide Netanyahu’s fate.

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