MK Bitan: Gideon Sa’ar’s career done if he opposes immunity

"We all vote against our conscience when it comes to many issues," David Bitan explained. "This is not an issue of principles."

David Bitan in Knesset on February 5, 2018. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
David Bitan in Knesset on February 5, 2018.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
The political career of MK Gideon Sa’ar, who ran against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the Likud primary election on Thursday, “would be finished” if he and his supporters do not vote in favor of Netanyahu’s immunity, Knesset Deputy Speaker and Likud MK David Bitan said in a Radio 103FM interview on Friday.
Bitan, who served as head of the coalition until 2017, told host Nissim Mashaal that Sa’ar’s six supporters from Likud might “make Likud’s life a living hell” in the Knesset’s parliamentary work. He added, though, that he does not believe that Sa’ar’s supporters would oppose immunity for the prime minister.
“I heard the analysts yesterday and I smiled,” Bitan told the interviewer. “When it comes to immunity, look – if this group will try to prevent
Netanyahu from getting immunity, its career in Likud is done, so they will not do that.
“We all vote against our conscience when it comes to many issues,” he explained. “This is not an issue of principles.”
“It is likely that [Netanyahu] will request [immunity],” he said. “If they oppose [his] immunity, then they’re done with their careers in Likud – including Gideon Sa’ar. [If they do that] they have no chance to [achieve] anything in Likud.”
The former coalition chairman also said that a ruling concerning Netanyahu’s eligibility to form a cabinet while indicted is “beyond the Supreme Court’s normal engagement [in politics].”
“I do not believe the Supreme Court would make this mistake, because it usually walks a tightrope,” Bitan said. “Here it [would be] ripping the rope apart, and this would make the public realize that Netanyahu was right and that there is a legal coup [against him].”
Mashaal reminded Bitan of the Deri-Pinchasi cases of 1993, when the Supreme Court ruled that indicted ministers – at the time, Interior Minister Aryeh Deri and former religious services minister Rafael Pinchasi – can be removed from office before the trial comes into an end.
“There is a difference,” Bitan said. “When it came to Deri-Pinchasi, there was no law that said a minister could remain in office, so [the Supreme Court] got in that niche and ruled whatever they ruled. Here, there is a clear law [saying] that a prime minister can keep his position.”
“The Knesset never thinks of all possible situations,” he said. “So they say ‘[the law] speaks of a serving prime minister and not a person who is supposed to form a coalition’ – give me a break!”
“I’m telling [the Supreme Court] not to meddle,” Bitan said. “Getting involved in who will be Israel’s prime minister is a very unusual thing. Think thoroughly and act right. “Even if they will make such a decision, we have our solutions for that issue, too.
“I will not say now what they are, but when it comes, there will be solutions.”