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Likud lawmaker withdraws bill to limit powers of attorney general

The party leadership distanced itself from the measure, which would transfer power to prosecute Cabinet members to the state attorney.

Attorney General Gali Baharav-Miara at a ceremony for outgoing Supreme Court Justice George Karra in Jerusalem, May 29, 2022. Photo by Yonatan Sindel/Flash90.
Attorney General Gali Baharav-Miara at a ceremony for outgoing Supreme Court Justice George Karra in Jerusalem, May 29, 2022. Photo by Yonatan Sindel/Flash90.

Likud MK Eli Dellal on Thursday withdrew a bill that would strip the attorney general of the power to prosecute Cabinet members.

Dellal introduced the measure on Wednesday with the backing of 10 other Likud lawmakers. The legislation states that “its purpose is to transfer from the attorney general to the state attorney the powers related to the enforcement of the criminal law against members of the government.”

In a Twitter post, Dellal announced that he decided to withdraw the bill and seek dialogue on the issue.

“In light of my unwillingness to promote it in the current Knesset and a real and honest desire for talks, compromises and reaching agreements with my fellow opposition members, I decided to withdraw the bill,” he wrote.

“I hope that we will know good and united days and that we will reach broad agreements regarding the required balance between the authorities.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s party had distanced itself from the measure, saying in a statement that it was submitted privately without the coordination of Likud leadership.

“The private bill to split the attorney general’s powers that was submitted [to the plenum] tonight was submitted to the Knesset Secretariat weeks ago. The proposal was not at all coordinated with the coalition leaders and Prime Minister Netanyahu was not a party to it. Bills of this type will not be advanced without the approval of the coalition leaders and therefore it is not on the agenda,” the statement said.

The bill was submitted two days after the coalition passed into law an amendment to Basic Law: The Judiciary that bars “reasonableness” as a justification for judges to reverse decisions made by the Cabinet, ministers and “other elected officials as set by law.”

It was filed on the final working day of the legislative session before the summer recess.

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