Shaked assesses bill to protect prime ministers from standing trial

As Netanyahu is undergoing a criminal investigation concerning his conduct in several affairs, the Justice Minister is considering a bill that would protect PMs from standing trial on minor offenses

January 20, 2017 12:08
1 minute read.
Ayelet Shaked

Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked. (photo credit: REUTERS)

Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked is considering initiating a ministerial bill that will limit the tenure of future prime ministers to eight years and protect sitting premiers from standing trial on minor offenses that are considered less severe, such as white collar crimes.

“Serving eight years allows making substantial changes and implementing policy on the one hand, while, on the other, going over that period of time doesn’t strengthen our democracy,” Shaked said on Friday. “Nonetheless, during the term of the prime minister, government stability should be kept in order to establish a stable economy, take care of the security of the citizens of Israel and maintain the people’s interests.”

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Holding frequent elections, she said, destabilizes civil society and costs the state billions of shekels.

“We will make sure to fortify the governance so that we don’t go to elections with no substantial reason. The purpose of the bill is to keep the integrity while also maintaining governance.”

Shaked stated that the law would not apply to the current sitting prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, against whom police are conducting a much-debated criminal investigation.

The Ministerial Committee for Legislation is scheduled to vote Sunday on a separate bill, initiated by MK David Amsalem (Likud), that would prohibit the investigation of a sitting prime minister for minor crimes.

Amsalem’s bill says a premier may not be probed for minor offenses that carry a sentence of up to six months in prison, but that the prime minister’s term would not be counted against the statute of limitations for time in which the offense can be investigated.

The explanatory notes of the bill say the prime minister must make fateful decisions on matters that influence the entire public, including on diplomatic, security, economic and social issues and that “he should be focused entirely on these matters.”

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