Netanyahu, Right bloc asks Edelstein to stymie immunity rejection

Letter asks Knesset speaker to prevent circus in plenum

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with right bloc leaders (photo credit: LIKUD)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with right bloc leaders
(photo credit: LIKUD)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the leaders of the parties in his bloc wrote a letter to Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein on Tuesday, demanding that he stop the effort to prevent Netanyahu from obtaining immunity from prosecution.
The Knesset Arrangements Committee decided on Monday to form a House Committee that would have a majority for rejecting immunity. But the move still required approval by the Knesset plenum.
Edelstein had already decided not to accept Blue and White’s request to convene the plenum this week. But Netanyahu and his allies said that was not enough and asked that he prevent the plenum from convening before the March 2 election.
In the letter drafted at the meeting, the party heads wrote that “the rules of proper procedure during an election recess had been trampled,” and that the plenum cannot be convened, because it would “make the Knesset into a circus that would be utilized for political propaganda.”
The letter was signed by the heads of Likud, Agudat Yisrael, Degel Hatorah, Shas, New Right, National Union and Bayit Yehudi. New Right co-leader Ayelet Shaked urged the Likud not to petition the High Court of Justice to try to stop the Knesset from convening.
The meeting came amid reports of anger in the Prime Minister’s Office at Edelstein for not preventing the Arrangements Committee from advancing the effort to reject Netanyahu’s immunity. Edelstein has not yet responded to the letter.
Blue and White leader Benny Gantz called for the plenum to be convened immediately, in a statement he made on a tour of the City of David archaeological park in Jerusalem on Tuesday.
“The speaker’s role is as a public official, not as the representative of a particular party,” Gantz said. “Netanyahu has requested parliamentary immunity, well aware that part of the discussion would entail a discussion of the request itself. He can’t both have requested immunity and also demand that his request not be discussed. I am determined to lead the move toward convening the Knesset and launching a House committee – not by force, but simply through applying the law. We will do what needs to be done so that the discussion takes place and the committee comes together as cleanly as possible.”