Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Liberman on Sunday hinted he won’t support parliamentary immunity to the embattled Israeli leader for the corruption charges brought against him.
Netanyahu on Thursday suffered a blow to his hopes of remaining in office after Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit announced his decision to indict the prime minister for bribery, fraud and breach of trust in three corruption investigations into the veteran politician who has led the country for more than a decade.
“The prime minister said he did not need immunity and will not appeal to the Knesset to ask for it,” said Liberman at a special press conference.
“But, in my opinion any attempt to solve the legal issue elsewhere - including in the Knesset - by receiving immunity, would be a violation of Israeli public’ confidence in the political system," he added. “The only place for this to be resolved is the court.”
Nevertheless, Liberman said, he wished the prime minister will be found not guilty and will come out of his legal troubles “as white as snow.”
Liberman, unlike many others in Israeli politics, did not demand for Netanyahu to resign. “For now, he has to continue [as premier] as long as no new elections are held and no one else has been elected,” he said.
The 61-year-old went on to say that at this point avoiding an unprecedented third election in 12 months is next to impossible. “We’re heading toward the elections with eyes wide open,” he said. “Party leaders have exhausted their possibilities to prevent them.”
The Yisrael Beytenu leader said he still hopes that President Reuven Rivlin will put pressure on the party leaders to come to a last-ditch agreement in order to prevent the elections.
Rivlin last week handed the mandate to establish a government to the Knesset after both Netanyahu and Gantz failed to form a coalition. The move effectively started a 21-day period where 61 MKs could recommend any member to begin forming a government before the next elections are called.