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October 20, 2021 10:03 am
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New Knesset Bill Would Bar Indicted MKs, Including Netanyahu, From Becoming Prime Minister

avatar by i24 News

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks on his mobile phone during a special session of the Knesset whereby Israeli lawmakers elect a new president, at the plenum in the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, in Jerusalem June 2, 2021. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun

i24 News – A Knesset bill to prevent anyone facing a serious indictment from forming a government was introduced by Justice Minister Gideon Sa’ar on Tuesday.

If passed, the law would prevent opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu from receiving a mandate to form a government coalition after the next elections.

Anyone charged with a crime punishable by three years’ imprisonment could not serve as prime minister or as alternate prime minister under the proposal.

Netanyahu has been indicted for bribery and thus would not be able to put together a coalition as stated in the bill.

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The bill, drafted together with another aimed at limiting the number of terms of office, will be put to a vote in the Knesset (Israel parliament) after the adoption of the state budget.

Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked of the Yamina party expressed her opposition to the bill, while Prime Minister Naftali Bennett did not speak on the issue.

Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, for his part, reacted by saying that it should be obvious that anyone indicted cannot become prime minister, and expressed optimism that the bill will pass.

“As it stands, the prime minister’s drivers, security guards, housekeepers, and medical staff cannot be indicted, while the prime minister himself can be indicted and still serve. A suspected criminal cannot be prime minister in a democratic country. Personal example, morality, and integrity are the cornerstones of leadership,” Lapid wrote on Twitter.

Bezalel Smotrich, leader of the Religious Zionist Party, attacked Sa’ar and called the bill “clearly undemocratic.”

“Sa’ar’s hatred for Netanyahu … leads him to a targeted assassination of Israeli democracy,” he said.

Likud reacted in a similar way, saying that this type of bill was “shameful and undemocratic, and that it resembled what is being done in Iran.”

Netanyahu’s party also noted the fact that Sa’ar’s New Hope party barely crossed the eligibility threshold in the latest polls, while Likud could win up to 35 seats.

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