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MKs David Amsalem (R) and David Bitan
Sima Kadmon
The takeover of Likud has been completed
Op-ed: There’s no way of sugarcoating the twisted story in which Benny Begin, the last remnant of the old ruling party, is deposed from a Knesset committee simply because he opposed a certain section in a bill aimed at helping Prime Minister Netanyahu with his legal troubles.

Looks like we’re running out of words. We can no longer use phrases like “there’s no shame left” or “where’s the shame?” The word “shame” was dropped from our Knesset’s lexicon long ago. It’s a place that challenges the word “disgust” every single day.

 

 

This time, it’s about the way Knesset Member Benny Begin was replaced or deposed from the Knesset’s Internal Affairs Committee simply just because he opposed a certain section in the “second Bibi bill,” which is also known as MK David Amsalem’s recommendations bill.

 

This bill, which has already passed its preliminary reading, is clearly a personal bill aimed at rescuing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu from a possible media and political uproar following the release of the police’s recommendations to the State Attorney’s Office in the investigations against the prime minister. If the bill is adopted by the Knesset before the police submit their recommendations, Amsalem’s law is supposed to save Netanyahu from his biggest fear: That the public will become aware of the acts that led the police to recommend an indictment.

 

MK Benny Begin (L) with Coalition Chairman David Bitan, who deposed him from the Knesset’s Internal Affairs Committee on Wednesday  (Photo: Gil Yohanan)
MK Benny Begin (L) with Coalition Chairman David Bitan, who deposed him from the Knesset’s Internal Affairs Committee on Wednesday (Photo: Gil Yohanan)

 

After the preliminary vote, the bill was sent over to the Internal Affairs Committee, which is chaired by the bill’s initiator, MK Amsalem. As I have written in the past, the Knesset always tries to avoid a situation in which a committee chairperson discusses his own bills. But although legislation amendments are always discussed in the Constitution, Law and Justice Committee, and although the legal advisor determined that’s where the bill belongs, Coalition Chairman David Bitan made certain it would be sent to the Internal Affairs Committee.

 

On Wednesday morning, the Internal Affairs Committee convened to discuss the bill. Committee member Benny Begin made a few comments and finally demanded that the law would only apply to investigations that begin after it is approved.

 

The Internal Affairs Committee includes 15 members, six of them from the opposition. Two coalition members asked for an amendment stating the law would not apply to investigations that have already begun: Begin and Kulanu’s representative in the committee. As a result, Begin had the deciding vote on whether the bill would pass or not.

 

So what did they do? They deposed him.

 

Shortly afterwards, the Likud faction chairman, David Bitan, announced that Begin would be replaced in the Internal Affairs Committee by MK David Bitan.

 

There’s no way of sugarcoating this twisted story, in which the last remnant of the old Likud party is deposed from a committee as if he were just any other MK, simply because he conditioned his vote on such a controversial bill, a bill that is opposed by the law enforcement system—from the attorney general to the state attorney, who even expressed his reservations to the committee and stated the law would make the work of the State Attorney’s Office more complicated.

 

This day can be marked as the day the Davids completed their takeover of Likud. And all this happening after the recommendations bill, which was originally presented as a bill aimed at tackling the delay of justice suffered by common people, has been reduced to cases with a supervising attorney—in other words, cases of senior officials like Netanyahu. There is no longer an attempt to conceal the fact that this bill is a bill aimed at helping Netanyahu.

 

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