Likud MK pushes bill to protect sitting PM from prosecution
MK Dudi Amsalem, who heads the Knesset Internal Affairs and Environment Committee, suggests protecting the prime minister from any 'light offenses,' including bribery, fraud and breach of trust; Netanyahu's questioning is scheduled for Monday.
Internal Affairs and Environment Committee Chairman MK David "Dudi" Amsalem (Likud) announced that he plans on submitting a bill on Monday that would prohibit the investigation of a sitting prime minister on suspicions of bribery, fraud or breach of trust. The bill will be promoted while sitting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is set to be investigated, with Monday set as the date of his questioning with the police..
The bill would have a prime minister serve out his term before facing an investigation, except in cases of suspected security-, sex-, violence- or drug-related crimes, describing these cases as "extremely severe offenses" that warrant a quick and efficient investigation. Another caveat includes situation where not investigating a certain suspicion in real time could cause serious security or financial damage.
Even if the bill were to pass all three readings, it will likely not be considered retroactively, and therefore would not relieve Netanyahu of his pending investigation. Despite this, Amsalem stated that "This bill seeks to send a clear message."
A previous bill of Amsalem's also tried to prevent investigations against the PM, but it has only referred to "light offenses" and did not specify further.
"The prime minister position is one of the most complex positions there are," the bill stated. "They must make critical decisions in matters that affect the entire public, including matters of diplomacy, security, finance and society. For this reason, they must be completely focused on these issues."
"Over the past few years, there have been several occasions where prime ministers were preoccupied with investigations opened against them for different matters, some of them relating to events that took place before they had taken office. To avoid this, it is now suggested to determine that a criminal investigation will not be opened against the prime minister during their time in office."
As certain offenses have statutes of limitations, the bill suggests freezing them for the prime minister's time in office.
"Over the last 20 years, all the prime ministers have been investigated, which led the entire country to repeatedly shut down," said Amsalem. "Running this country is ultimately what matters most. And it is impossible to continue what we are witnessing. The people should decide on the prime minister via elections, and not Meni Yitzhaki," the head of the police's Investigations and Intelligence Department.
Amsalem added that the police are exhibiting a different attitude to the prime minister compared to common citizens. "If it were just a regular guy, the police would have no motivation. I suppose that if Netanyahu weren't the prime minister, they wouldn't have summoned his son to find out whether he was invited to some hotel or another. There's an entire, vast army that is intent on replacing the prime minister. I think there's also foreign, overseas funding at work here—they're doing everything they can to get rid of Netanyahu and gain control of the government for their leftist agenda."