In December 2018, the Israeli government reportedly decided to hold an early general election due to disputes over a new army conscription bill in the wake of the Defence Minister's resignation and withdrawal of his party from the coalition over a Cabinet decision to accept a ceasefire ending hostilities against the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.
Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit has written a letter to Netanyahu's lawyers who had earlier asked to postpone an announcement of a decision in the criminal cases against Netanyahu until after the election.
"Suspending the regular work process, determined in advance, concerning the investigations in the matter of the prime minister until after the date of the election would be a violation of the principle of equality before the law", he said in the letter.
Mandelblit has stated that he had informed Netanyahu's lawyers "there is no impediment to making and publishing a decision, if there is any, to consider filing an indictment in the cases relating to the prime minister, or part of them, subject to a hearing, even before the election date".
He noted that such a delay would also deviate from past instructions from the attorney general.
"Waiting to release the decision is not in keeping with the public’s right to know", he added.
The statement comes after Netanyahu and his wife, Sarah, were alleged to be involved in the Bezeq-Walla corruption affair, also known as Case 4000. They are accused of promoting the interests of Bezeq, the country's largest telecommunications provider, in exchange for favourable coverage of Netanyahu's activities on the popular news website Walla, which is controlled by the company. The Israeli PM has also been suspected of receiving expensive gifts from business circles (Case 1000) and trying to reach a deal with the leadership of the newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth (Case 2000). However, Netanyahu has refuted all the accusations, dismissing them as a media-orchestrated smear campaign.
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