Cabinet to vote on bill to prohibit probing PM

According to the bill, the prime minister would not be investigated at all during his term, except in cases involving security issues, violence, sex and drugs.

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January 19, 2017 21:39
1 minute read.
Netanyahu

PM Benjamin Netanyahu at the Knesset. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)

The Ministerial Committee for Legislation is scheduled to vote Sunday on a bill that would prohibit the investigation of a sitting prime minister for minor crimes.

The proposal by Knesset Interior Committee chairman David Amsalem (Likud) 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.

“I fear for the State of Israel – it does not function well,” Amsalem wrote on Facebook on Thursday, implying that the current prime minister has no time to work because he constantly needs to defend himself against criminal allegations.

“The public, which is also the sovereign authority, chooses the prime minister to run the country, and that is what is most important.”

He wrote that the opposition has taken a minor issue and presented it as important.

“It doesn’t make sense that the police, the attorney-general and the courts are running the country,” Amsalem said.

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. “He should be focused entirely on these matters,” the explanation said.

The prime minister would not be investigated at all during his term, except in cases involving security issues, violence, sex and drugs. He could also be investigated on other matters if the country’s security is on the line or if major economic damage would be caused if the attorney-general would avoid investigating.

MK Nachman Shai (Zionist Union) told The Jerusalem Post that the bill is discriminatory and dangerous.

“This is an unprecedented bill that tries to set a different law between ordinary citizens and the prime minister,” he said. “All people are equal before the law, hence, if the prime minister is suspected in committing a crime, petty or severe, he should be investigated and even go on trial. There is no circumventing this matter.”

Lahav Harkov contributed to this report.


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