Likud withdraws bill to split attorney general's responsibilities

Lawmaker says he took the legislation off the table in order to reach compromise with the opposition; party says it was not cleared with coalition or Netanyahu

Sivan Hilaie|Updated:
The Likud Party has withdrawn a bill to split the position of the Attorney General, which was proposed just a day earlier on Wednesday by a third of the party's members. The legislation was proposed just days before the Knesset goes on its weeks-long summer recess, and two days after the Knesset passed the first bill in its judicial overhaul plan, reducing the oversight of the Supreme Court over government decisions.
<< Follow Ynetnews on Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | TikTok >>
More stories:
The withdrawn bill would have divided the responsibility of the Attorney General, removing from the position the control over the State Prosecution and leaving only the role of legal advisor to the government. The proposed legislation would remove the authority of the AG to prosecute the Prime Minister and members of his cabinet and thereby – according to the authors of the bill, prevent a conflict of structural conflict of interest.
2 View gallery
 Attorney General Gali Baharav-Miara has been at loggerheads with the coalition lawmakers
 Attorney General Gali Baharav-Miara has been at loggerheads with the coalition lawmakers
Attorney General Gali Baharav-Miara has been at loggerheads with the coalition lawmakers
(Photo: Yoav Dudkevitch)
The bill was withdrawn on Thursday by Likud lawmaker Eli Dalal. "In light of my unwillingness to promote it in the current Knesset and a genuine and honest desire for talks, compromises and reaching agreements with my fellow members of the opposition, I decided to withdraw the law. I hope that we will see good and united days and that we will reach broad agreements regarding the required balance between the authorities," Dalal said in explaining his action.
According to the proposers, the split was supposed to provide an answer to the problem of the institutional and structural conflict of interest inherent in the AG's job description. "Any other decision" that the state attorney could make if the bill were to pass, could include, for example, a plea deal or a withdrawal of an indictment. The bill was proposed while the trial of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is accused of bribery, fraud and breach of trust is still ongoing.
The proposed legislation, which raises questions about the Likud's intentions to interfere with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's criminal trial for corruption, was signed by one-third of Likud members, most of them freshmen. The 11 Likud members who signed the bill are: Dellal, Amit Halevi, Dan Ilouz, Boaz Bismuth, Tali Gottlieb, Nissim Vaturi, Shalom Danino, Keti Katrin Shitrit, Eliyahu Revivo, Tsega Malko and Chava Eti Atias.
Likud hastened to claim that the proposal submitted last night had been submitted to the Knesset Secretariat weeks ago but not coordinated with the heads of the coalition and the prime minister. "The proposal was not at all coordinated with the heads of the coalition and Prime Minister Netanyahu was not a party to it. Bills of this type will not be promoted without the approval of the heads of the coalition and therefore it is not on the agenda," the party said in a statement, to explain its withdrawal.
The explanatory notes to the bill to split the role of the Attorney General said that: "The Attorney General serves as the government's lawyer, and therefore legally assists it in fulfilling its policies and goals within the limits of the law. His position obliges him to cooperate closely and daily with the government and its ministers, whom he advises and whom he represents in courts."
2 View gallery
מליאת הכנסת
מליאת הכנסת
The legislation had been proposed while Benjamin Netanyahu's corruption trial is ongoing
(Photo: Amir Cohen/Reuters)
Since the establishment of the current government, ministers have clashed with Attorney General Gali Baharav-Miara who they claim was preventing ministers from executing the policies for which they were elected. In a cabinet meeting earlier this month, several of the ministers openly abused the AG and said she should be fired.
Senior legal officials commented on the bill Wednesday night. They said that "it was not for nothing that it happened on the same day that the cancellation of the reasonableness standard went into effect. All of this is connected to the increasing attacks on Gali Baharav-Miara by ministers and Knesset members from the Likud. Now it will be easier to oust her."
"Without any hesitation, the members of the Knesset who are very close to Netanyahu are submitting the bill, the purpose of which is to remove the prosecutor from dealing with Netanyahu's files and the prime minister's files in the future," an official said.
"The purpose of the bill is to transfer to the state attorney the authority regarding the decision to open an investigation and prosecution related to criminal proceedings against the prime minister and members of the government. This arrangement will provide an answer to the problem of the institutional and structured conflict of interest arising in this context," he said.
First published: 15:22, 07.27.23
The commenter agrees to the privacy policy of Ynet News and agrees not to submit comments that violate the terms of use, including incitement, libel and expressions that exceed the accepted norms of freedom of speech.