Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks at the opening session of the Knesset, October 15, 2018.
(photo credit: ESTI DESIOVOV/TPS)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered Likud MK Miki Zohar to shelve a controversial amendment that could have helped Netanyahu avoid prosecution, after an outcry from the opposition.
The current law requires a vote in the Knesset in order for an MK to use his parliamentary immunity. Zohar’s amendment would make immunity automatic, and would require a vote for an indictment to be permitted.
“My amendment is intended to protect elected officials from political witch hunts,” Zohar said. “I presented it at my own initiative, and it would protect all MKs from Right and Left. The prime minister has no hand whatsoever in this important initiative.”
But Zohar’s explanation did not satisfy MKs in the opposition. Zionist Union faction chairman Yoel Hasson said, “Israel is not a monarchy, Netanyahu does not sit on a throne, and we cannot remain indifferent to bills that are intended to protect the king.”
Yesh Atid MK Elazar Stern added, “Israel has a separation of powers in its government, and it is not the role of MKs to judge who is worthy and unworthy of parliamentary immunity.”
Following the criticism, the Prime Minister’s Office released a statement on Tuesday saying: “Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu does not want the immunity law, and he asked MK Zohar not to promote it. Prime Minister Netanyahu is convinced that there will be no indictment because there is nothing.”
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