Blue and White co-founder Yair Lapid said Sunday he doesn’t want to see Benjamin Netanyahu in jail, but would not be drawn on whether he would support a pardon for the prime minister indicted on three corruption charges.
The comments came three weeks after Netanyahu had been charged with bribery, fraud and breach of trust in three cases in which he is accused of trading legislative or regulatory favors in exchange for gifts or favorable media coverage.
"Pardon is a legal concept, Netanyahu must first accept responsibility for his actions and express remorse,” said Lapid in an interview with Ynet. “I'm not in favor of personal legislation but when it comes down to it, we will address it."
"I think my Benny [Gantz] shares my sentiment of not wanting to see an Israeli prime minister go to prison. I think most Israeli citizens feel the same," he said. “But, he has three serious indictments against him and cannot serve as prime minister of Israel.”
Last week the Knesset approved a motion to dissolve itself and hold an unprecedented third national vote in less than a year on March 2, 2020, and Lapid went on to blame the current political crisis on Netanyahu’s desire to avoid jail time.
"He [Netanyahu] has dragged us into a third election, and I think he is just busy with his pardon and immunity. We are in a situation where the choice is between the country and Netanyahu, and we must choose the country.
“We assured the public that we would not sit in government with him, yet we were prepared for him to be the second in rotation in order to take care of his legal affairs,” he said.
"The last thing we wanted was a third election campaign. It's bad for the state, the health system and even traffic jams."
The 56-year-old lawmaker also said that his decision to give up on the rotation agreement with the Blue and White leader Benny Gantz for the post of the premier was taken due to a “much more urgent goal.”
First published: 11:50 , 12.15.19