Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would not have to resign even if he were to be indicted by Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit, the heads of two of the parties in his coalition said at Wednesday’s Jerusalem Post Diplomatic Conference, in statements seen as making an early election less likely.
The statements were made by Yisrael Beytenu head Avigdor Liberman, who was interviewed on stage by Jerusalem Post Editor-in-Chief Yaakov Katz, and by Bayit Yehudi head Naftali Bennett, who was interviewed by the Post’s Diplomatic Correspondent Herb Keinon.
“For a prime minister to resign, it’s a political revolution,” Liberman said. “The consequences are complicated. We should wait for a court verdict.”
Liberman himself was investigated for more than a decade and was never convicted.
Bennett called criminal probes of Netanyahu “fluff and noise” and said that “in a country of law, mere indictments do not topple a government voted in by millions of people.”
The criminal investigations of Netanyahu
and other senior figures in his governing coalition and the police leaks make Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked feel uncomfortable, she admitted in an interview onstage at the conference with Jerusalem Report
Editor-in-Chief Steve Linde.
Shaked noted the investigation of coalition chairman David Bitan
, who she said has been harmed by the leaks from a probe.
The justice minister defended recent legislation that has been called antidemocratic by critics. She said the Nation-State Bill would only strengthen Israeli democracy and would not harm the country’s democratic values.
Regarding bills that limit nongovernmental organizations, Shaked said they are about transparency.
“Transparency is not against democracy,” she said.
Defending the police recommendations bill, she said it is not very different from recommendations made in the past by the attorney-general, and that some top judges have opposed publicizing the opinions of the police.
When asked about her biggest achievements, she said she had nominated 230 judges out of the current 700, resulting in a justice system that is more diverse. She added that she had helped change the legal status regarding Judea and Samaria and reduce Beduin polygamy.
Regarding US President Donald Trump’s expected announcements about recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and starting the process of moving the US embassy
, she said all of Israel is excited.
“This is the victory of the American people and the American spirit,” Shaked said.