Immunity bill would save country millions

Israel’s second president, Yitzhak Ben-Zvi, had been elected to his third term at the time of his death.

(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Media reports state that the majority of Israelis are opposed to granting immunity from prosecution to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
This is not surprising, taking into account the constant, long-term publicity given to the allegations against him and the recent indictment against him by the attorney-general.
Yet, if there was a law that granted immunity to a sitting president and prime minister, much of the time and money wasted in elections over the past year would have been saved and Israel would have a government.
To avoid lifetime immunity, legislation should also be passed limiting the number of terms in which a prime minister can serve, just as legislation was introduced to limit the president to one term of seven years.
Israel’s second president, Yitzhak Ben-Zvi, had been elected to his third term at the time of his death.
Subsequent presidents were able to serve two terms, as did Chaim Herzog.
However, when Ezer Weizman was serving the second year of his second term, he was found to have engaged in fiscal improprieties, and was given the option of stepping down to avoid the disgrace of a day in court.
After that, the presidency was limited to one seven-year term.
Regardless of how anyone may feel about Netanyahu, his ability to perform and to think clearly under all the pressures that he has had to contend with in recent years is truly remarkable.
While frequently pointing to the allegations against Netanyahu, the prime minister’s chief contender, Benny Gantz, also makes the point that he has no doubt that Netanyahu is a patriot.
That in itself should be the most important consideration regarding any prime minister, not just Netanyahu.
If a prime minister is suspected of criminal activity, but not of activity that endangers the security of the state, he or she should be thoroughly investigated, but such an investigation should remain secret until the prime minister’s term of office has expired.
This would leave the prime minister in a better position to conduct the affairs of state, and, almost as important, would prevent the divisiveness that is threatening Israeli solidarity insofar as the Netanyahu cases are concerned.
So many important issues confronting Israel have been all but been ignored by the media, which collectively has placed its main focus on Netanyahu’s legal predicament and all that it entails – including elections.