Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s cabinet will vote “very soon” this month on Justice Minister Gideon Sa’ar’s bill to limit prime ministers to two terms, Sa’ar told his New Hope faction meeting at the Knesset on Monday.
The eight-year limit for prime ministers is not retroactive, which means opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu can still be prime minister for eight more years. He is the only living Israeli who has served eight years as prime minister.
But as early as next month, Sa’ar will bring to the cabinet his second bill that would prevent anyone indicted from forming a government, which would apply to Netanyahu.
Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Liberman told his faction meeting that he would support both bills and ensure they pass. But Bennett has remained silent about them and declined to express an opinion.
Netanyahu lashed out at Bennett at a special Knesset session requested by 40 opposition MKs, telling him “you won’t be here long” before Alternate Prime Minister Yair Lapid takes over.
“Bennett is weak and silent,” Netanyahu said. “The leaders of the world don’t take him seriously, because he is a puppet prime minister who doesn’t cross the electoral threshold. He is a stepping stone, who gets walked on by the Left to bring Lapid to power, which is the Left’s dream. I don’t want to say a wet dream, it is the non-wet dream of the Left.”
The prime minister mocked the opposition MKs by speaking for only 20 seconds in response to their complaints that his government had made too many concessions to the Palestinians and the international community.
“There are no negotiations to divide the land, period,” he said.
Bennett’s coalition boycotted a vote on his short statement because the opposition declined to pair off with coalition MKs who are sick and in mourning. Due to the boycott, the vote on Bennett’s statement was 52 against, with three abstentions.
Opposition MKs celebrated the results, saying that it was the first time a prime minister’s statement did not pass. They said the boycott was a mere excuse to hide the loss.
The Likud has decided to continue its own boycott of Knesset committees to protest the coalition allocation of seats on the committees in a manner the Likud considers unfair.
Netanyahu’s party considered a proposal by Likud MK Yuval Steinitz on Monday to allow the formation of the Knesset Ethics Committee but decided against it after Likud MK Orly Levy-Abecassis warned that the ethics committee would focus on complaints against MKs in the Likud.
Knesset Speaker Mickey Levy tried to draft opposition MKs to the committee and bypass the Likud boycott, but the MKs he sought refused.