Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon was reportedly given an ultimatum on Tuesday by the ruling Likud party: either vote with the coalition in favor of the recommendations bill or face elections.
The legislation would bar the police from making recommendations on indictments in instances when the investigation includes an attorney, with the official reason being the attorney would be the best authority to decide the chances of conviction.
Most notably, the recommendations bill would apply to the current investigations against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, thus preventing the police from issuing a recommendation to indict him if their investigations lead to that conclusion.
Over the past 24 hours, Kahlon has been fielding heated criticism for voting in favor of the bill in the preliminary Knesset reading on Monday.
During the first reading vote, Kulanu MK Rachel Azaria exited the plenum, so as not to vote in favor of the bill.
Such demonstrations will be unacceptable during the upcoming second and third readings of the bill, as all members of the coalition were given an update on Tuesday that no offsetting will be allowed—meaning that all coalition members are expected to vote in favor of the bill.
During the bill's first reading, the plenum included a sparse showing of coalition MKs, many of whom were absent due to flight and events outside the Knesset. The second reading vote will take place next Monday, December 4.
Kahlon insists bill not about Netanyahu
Kahlon defended voting in favor of the bill on Tuesday. "Whoever says the recommendations bill is about the prime minister, is flat-out lying," he said at a conference in Eilat.
"The law differentiates between ongoing investigations and investigations from here onward," said Kahlon.
Regarding whether the bill would apply to the current investigations against Netanyahu, Kahlon said that "the attorney general will decide."
Kahlon maintained he has always opposed publicizing police recommendations. "We began working on the bill 17 years ago. I don’t believe that recommendations ought to be publicized. I don’t deny that the timing is problematic, but the bill was submitted two years ago," stressed Kahlon.
"I believe there is a negative public climate, and I wish that many bills were never advanced. However, this particular bill is legitimate and I support it. I don’t require anyone's opinion, I believe in it. Everything I did was with the close cooperation of the AG. I didn't move a milimeter without Mandelblit."
The Kulanu chairperson added that he "does not believe there is any reason in the world that an Israeli citizen should appear on Google as one whom the police recommended for an indictment that was later withdrawn, so whenever their name comes up in a search, people will see they were recommended for an indictment. I believe that citizens have rights."
The discussion on the legiation in the Internal Affairs Committee on Monday became heated when it became clear that Kahlon backtracked from his request that the investigation of the prime minister be excluded from the bill.
Responding the the backlash he has received for supporting the bill, Kahlon said, "I am not deterred by the festival of hypocrisy by those who are not satisfied with the decision."
Kahlon stressed he was not subject to pressure to change his decision to support the bill.
Talking about the 'French Bill,' which would bar the investigation of a sitting prime minister, Kahlon claimed he had managed to remove it from the Knesset's agenda. "I said the French bill would not pass, and Amsalem informed me it had been withdrawn, at my request."
Regarding the current investigations involving Netanyahu, Kahlon suggested to "allow the attorney general to carry out his investigation and see where it goes."