(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu should not resign even if he is indicted for the alleged crimes for which he is currently being investigated, MK Miki Zohar (Likud) said Monday at the Israel Bar Association Conference in Eilat.
On the panel discussing whether a bill should be passed delaying the prosecution of a sitting prime minister until he leaves office, Zohar said if Netanyahu did resign due to an indictment, “it would be a great sorrow for the State of Israel.”
Zohar said if Netanyahu “got this or that present over many years... or that he was angry and expressed anger at a certain newspaper,” this should not lead to him resigning, because he could defend his innocence, and his role as prime minister was too important.
Following that comment, Zohar also said that “unambiguously” he supported former prime minister Ehud Olmert being forced out of office.
When the moderator, journalist Baruch Kra, implied his position was hypocritical, Zohar argued that Olmert’s crimes were more serious because there was quid pro quo and “bribery that went directly to his own pocket.”
MK Merav Michaeli (Zionist Union) responded to Zohar, stating, “Sounds like you are the messenger of a specific person who is suspected of getting presents.”
She then took a whole different tack, saying she is concerned that there is pressure on the attorney-general not to indict the prime minister, to maintain political stability, and that this concern could be overplayed and should not be decisive.
Justice Ministry oversight czar David Rozen, who has a unique perspective as the judge who sent Olmert to jail in the Holyland case, said that in the debate regarding the new law “everyone would agree that a criminal investigation of a prime minister hurts his concentration and his ability to do his job.
“We have two options,” he said. “Only the attorney-general can open an investigation, and his concerns are only professional....
Or pass a law that won’t disturb the prime minister.”
Rozen then made it clear where he stood. “Passing the law to delay [the prosecution of the prime minister] would be unacceptable from every angle.
Even from the standpoint of not distracting the prime minister, he would be distracted by news reports” that the police probe was blocked by the law.