Knesset says no to probing police, prosecutors, judges

Nearly all Likud MKs boycott controversial vote.

Justice Minister Avi Nissenkorn, September 2020 (photo credit: YONATAN SAMYA)
Justice Minister Avi Nissenkorn, September 2020
(photo credit: YONATAN SAMYA)
A bill proposing the establishment of a commission of inquiry that would probe alleged conflicts of interests among the police, the prosecution and in the judiciary was soundly defeated in the Knesset plenum on Wednesday by a vote of 47-6.
Yamina MK Bezalel Smotrich, who presented the proposal, told the plenum that a commission is necessary due to recent reports of conflicts of interest among police investigators involved in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s cases, and he accused Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit of “running the country.”
“We cannot let the corruption of the legal system continue to be covered up,” Smotrich said.
Justice Minister Avi Nissenkorn (Blue and White) responded by quoting an old Netanyahu speech, in which he said that he won’t let the legal establishment be harmed. Nissenkorn’s party voted against the proposal.
“There is a difference between legitimate criticism and using one incident as an excuse to destroy the entire legal system,” Nissenkorn said.
The Likud boycotted the vote, except MKs Shlomo Karhi and Ariel Kallner, who voted in favor. The Likud had announced it would support the proposal, and this greatly angered Blue and White, but it asked Smotrich to hold off until Netanyahu returned from abroad, so they could file their own bill.
Smotrich refused to delay his bill, because the Knesset will not hold key votes during the upcoming lockdown and holidays.
A similar proposal by Smotrich that concerned only judges sparked a huge rift between the Likud and Blue and White two months ago, and it almost led to another early election. After the reports about the police and the prosecution, Smotrich  revised his bill to also include them under the inquiry’s purview.
Apart from Smotrich, Karhi and Kallner, the other MKs who voted in favor were Yamina’s Matan Kahane, Ofir Sofer and former justice minister Ayelet Shaked.