(September 3, 2019 / JNS) Senior Yamina Party members expressed support this week for granting immunity from prosecution to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, citing their concern for national stability, a seeming reversal from their previous position.
Speaking at a conference organized by the religious-Zionist Srugim news site in Jerusalem on Monday, Naftali Bennett, No. 2 on the Yamina list, said he supports immunity for the prime minister to prevent yet another election cycle in Israel, which he said would create instability.
“This is not a game,” said Bennett. “Yesterday, there was rocket fire from Hezbollah aimed at killing Israeli soldiers. There are real threats and real tensions to deal with. We are not Luxembourg. So I take stability very seriously—we cannot allow there to be another election in 2020.”
Netanyahu is currently facing three separate criminal investigations. If legislation is not passed to grant immunity to sitting premiers, he could face prosecution while in office, which would result in new elections being called.
Yamina Party leader Ayelet Shaked said in an interview on Sunday that she opposes new immunity legislation, but “will consider everything and decide according to the good of the State of Israel” if Netanyahu requests immunity from the Knesset House Committee according to existing law.
“The law is very clear on indictments against prime ministers,” she said. “It enables them to serve until a final verdict … so that the decision of one person, the attorney general, doesn’t cause a regime change. In a request for immunity by the prime minister, leadership stability should also be considered.”
In an Israeli radio interview on Monday, Shaked reaffirmed her statement, saying “if the prime minister chooses the existing law, we will decide according to the circumstances. Knesset members should consider the issue of stability and the public interest.”
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