(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
MKs Gideon Sa’ar and Michal Shir faced threats online after they spoke out against the expected move by Likud to push a bill that would grant Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and all other MKs, immunity from criminal proceedings.
Sa’ar tweeted on Sunday “one example out of many to the raging incitement on the Internet over the weekend. Methods of incitement, intimidation and threats will not work.”
He posted an image of a Facebook post featuring a doctored photo of him in kefiyyeh with the message “traitor” and “the arm of Satan seeped into the Right.” The post also called him “the worst enemy currently, worse than Iran.” On Thursday, Sa’ar told Channel 12 News that the immunity bill does zero good and causes “maximum damage,” and expressed hope that Netanyahu would not choose to promote it. In response, Likud sources said that Sa’ar, a longtime Netanyahu foe, does not miss any chance to undermine the prime minister.
The bill being discussed has yet to be officially submitted, but it is likely to bring back the pre-2005 situation, by which all MKs have automatic immunity from prosecution, unless the Knesset votes to lift that immunity. The Likud denied on Friday that the bill will be part of coalition agreements, but that does not preclude the coalition from passing it anyway. In addition, Union of Right-Wing Parties (URP) MK Bezalel Smotrich has said he plans to insist on having the initiative be part of his party’s coalition agreement with the Likud. Shir also faced threats online after she defended Sa’ar’s right to express his opinion and said that “personal legislation is mistaken and unnecessary.” She shared a tweet by Netanyahu’s son, Yair Netanyahu, pointing out that the “New Likudniks,” a group seeking to moderate the Likud and seen by some in the party as left-wing infiltrators, support Sa’ar and Shir for “standing with democracy.”
“Dear Yair,” Shir wrote on Twitter on Saturday, “I will start by saying I support your father... I fought to express the views of the Right, on whose values I was raised and educated. Unfortunately, in recent days, I have been harshly attacked from my [political] home, because I dared say what many think, but are afraid to say out loud.”
Likud MK Sharren Haskel joined the bill’s opponents on Sunday, saying she “feels uncomfortable... with Smotrich trying to put [the immunity bill] in coalition agreements.
“Maybe Smotrich is doing this on purpose, because it hurts the Likud,” Haskel said.