COALITION CHAIRMAN David Amsalem shouts during a stormy session of the Knesset Interior Committee on Tuesday about law enforcement investigations into corruption cases, with Police Insp.-Gen. Roni Alsheich (right). (Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post).
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
The State Attorney’s Office won’t be able to appeal court rulings on most cases involving white-collar crime if a bill proposed by coalition chairman David Amsalem becomes law.
The Likud bill would prohibit the state attorney from appealing sentences of under 10 years for crimes such as property offenses, bribery, fraud and breach of trust. However, the person convicted of a crime can appeal the ruling. Attorney- General Avihai Mandelblit opposes the bill and sees it part of a series of attempts to weaken law enforcement, Channel 2 News reported.
“A moral country does not need to persecute a citizen that it thinks received too light a sentence,” Amsalem said .
Should the legislation proposed Wednesday be approved, it could impact Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Earlier this year, the police recommended that Netanyahu be indicted on two counts of bribery and breach of trust. Mandelblit has the final say on whether to indict the prime minister, and he has said he will make his decision when all investigations are completed.
This is not Amsalem’s first bill relating to the Netanyahu investigations. Others have included a bill to ban criminal investigations of a sitting prime minister and a law passed in December that limits the police’s ability to call for an indictment in high-profile cases, unless the attorney-general allows it to do so.
Benjamin Netanyahu dismissive of corruption allegations on January 2, 2017
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Meretz chairwoman Tamar Zandberg accused the coalition of “obsessive dealings with law authorities in order to protect a prime minister who is drowning in investigation,” which she called “a mark of Cain on Israeli democracy.”
Zandberg warned that the bill will prevent the state attorney from submitting appeals in cases involving more serious crimes, like sexual harassment, if the sentence is under 10 years.
Zionist Union head Yoel Hasson called Amsalem “Netanyahu’s law tailor.”
According to Hasson, the coalition whip “is a personal emissary who puts himself at risk for Netanyahu to continue to avoid decisions about his legal matters. That is not how an elected official should behave.
“Netanyahu is just an example of how this government cares about itself, and should be sent home,” he said.
MK Karin Elharar of Yesh Atid said the bill is “personal, meant to serve the prime minister,” and called it “unfortunate that instead of thinking of bills that will take care of the general public’s rights, [Amsalem] appears to be working very hard to create laws that benefit elected officials, specifically Mr. Benjamin Netanyahu.”