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(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Under heavy criticism for his proposal to suspend criminal investigations against serving prime ministers, Public Security Minister Avi Dichter said Tuesday the bill he was proposing would not apply to Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.
"When the Israeli public goes to the ballot boxes, they are not electing a superman to lead them, but a man made out of flesh and blood," he said in an interview with Haaretz, parts of which were published on Monday. "Now he has to deal with leading the country and must also devote attention to this other, private matter."
According to Dichter, "We pick him for this triathlon called the premiership but he has to get through it with dead weight [on his shoulders]."
In response to these remarks, Labor MKs Ophir Paz-Pines and Shelly Yacimovich demanded Dichter's resignation. "The moment a minister who is responsible for the police takes the position that the prime minister should not be investigated during his term in office, he can no longer remain in his post," Pines told Army Radio.
Dichter told Israel Radio on Tuesday that his proposal would not be retroactive and would therefore not affect Olmert, who is currently under criminal investigation by police in two separate cases - allegations he interfered in the public tender for the core ownership in Bank Leumi and suspicions that he received a bribe when purchasing a home on Cremieux Street in Jerusalem's German Colony neighborhood.
In addition to his call to suspend criminal investigations of prime ministers, Dichter said he favored legislation establishing tough criteria for initiating criminal investigations against senior officials.
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