Bezalel Smotrich at The Jerusalem Post elections conference, April 3rd, 2019.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Union of Right-wing Parties number two candidate Bezalel Smotrich defended Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday at a Hebrew language conference in Tel Aviv that was sponsored by The Jerusalem Post Group, parent company of the Ma'ariv newspaper and the Post.
Unlike in the 2015 election, when Netanyahu cannibalized votes from the Likud’s right-wing satellite parties, Netanyahu and Smotrich’s parties have an agreement to not attack each other. Smotrich responded to attacks from Blue and White candidates who have said that Netanyahu's behavior in the "Submarine Affair" could approach betrayal.
“Using the word traitor is improper, including against a sitting prime minister,” Smotrich said. “I don’t think Netanyahu is corrupt or a traitor.”
In his answers to questions from Ma'ariv
columnists, Smotrich said he would work in the Knesset to change a law passed in 2005 that removed automatic immunity for Knesset members. He said he would pass a bill to return the immunity and require a vote of the Knesset in order to remove it.
“One of my first steps will be returning the immunity, out of the interest of keeping a right-wing government and keeping Israel in its current place, which is terrific,” Smotrich said, saying that such immunity should also apply to Netanyahu.
Smotrich said that one of his coalition demands would be that from now on, the state comptroller would not be a judge.
“Judges rule yes and no and give grades, and that is not what we need,” Smotrich said. “We want oversight from a comptroller who can help make things better.”
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