AIn early January, Benjamin Netanyahu filed for parliamentary immunity from prosecution after the Attorney General's Office sent him indictments in three cases of corruption and infidelity. However, Israel's prime minister did not demand a quick debate about his request. Netanyahu hopes that the Knesset will not be on the immunity question before the March election – and that court dates will not be set for the time being. This has now been thwarted.
As it currently looks, before the election on March 2, Netanyahu's immunity will be decided. The House Committee of the Knesset decides on immunity applications from MPs. This committee did not form after the September election, like most other Knesset committees, because Israel is led by a transitional government: no party camp could form a government coalition, which is why a new election is held on March 2 – it is the third election within a year.
Netanyahu's Likud argues that in times of a transitional government, no such Knesset committee can be formed and that there is not enough time to make adequate decisions on immunity applications. Netanyahu and his people are obviously playing for time, at best after the new election to have a majority in parliament that then votes for immunity.
Knesset spokesman Juli Edelstein, a party friend of Netanyahu, who is supposed to watch over parliamentary procedural questions, had spoken out against the formation of a committee on the question of immunity. Finally, however, he asked the Knesset legal adviser to decide on the question. The largest opposition party, blue and white, accused Edelstein of threatening gestures "like from mafia films". Their MPs had threatened to remove him if he blocked the formation of the committee.
Gemstone itself is also in a delicate location. As number two on the Likud election list, he is considered for higher posts, such as the office of President. But he did not rule out a successor to Netanyahu either. At the same time, loyalty to the party leader counts in hardly any other Israeli party as much as in Likud.
Edelstein was given the decision: The legal adviser to the Knesset submitted an opinion on Sunday, according to which a transitional government is no legal obstacle to forming a committee that decides on immunity. The Knesset spokesman had no power to ban the formation of a parliamentary committee. Edelstein then said that he would follow the decision, even if he did not agree with it.
The Likud, on the other hand, immediately called the Supreme Court to prohibit the publication of the legal opinion. Legal adviser Ejal Jinon is overshadowed by a "serious conflict of interest". Justification: His wife, a lawyer, belongs to the staff of the prosecutors who deal with Netanyahu's criminal cases. Jinon, on the other hand, had argued that his opinion on the formation of the Knesset Committee related only to parliamentary processes and had no direct connection to the question of immunity. Netanyahu released an Internet video attacking Jinon: "He and his wife say they don't discuss my case – do they think we're stupid?" The Supreme Court has not yet approved the Likud motion.
The main parliamentary committee met on Monday afternoon to decide on the formation of the so-called house committee, which will decide on Netanyahu's immunity applications. The main committee is headed by a deputy from blue and white. Until the very end, Likud MP Miki Zohar tried to prevent what he believed to be an illegal committee. This was in vain until early evening, as was his boycott of the further course of the session, which he described as a "political circus".
The committee for the formation of the house committee voted by a large majority, even without the approval of the Knesset spokesman. In the coming days, the house committee will meet and discuss Netanyahu's immunity application. The decision of the committee is then presented to the Knesset plenary. After the "Our Home Israel" party, which once co-founded with the Likud, has also announced that it will vote against Netanyahu's immunity in parliament, the Prime Minister's proposal is unlikely to get through, probably even before the election.
A prime minister in the election campaign and without immunity, while at the same time the first court dates are fixed, have become possible. "Netanyahu, who is responsible for the national paralysis, has decided to plunge us into costly elections for the third time for the sole reason of his own immunity," said opposition leader Benny Gantz, chairman of Blau-Weiß. "We won't allow these delay tactics."
. (tagsToTranslate) Benjamin Netanjahus (t) Benjamin Netanyahu (t) Ejal Jinon (t) Knesset (t) Likud (t) Transitional Government (t) Attorney General