MK: Netanyahu Can’t Work Under Constant Threat of Investigation

YERUSHALAYIM -
Israel MK David Amsalem (Likud). (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

The latest round of alleged criminal accusations against Binyamin Netanyahu are just another “sore loser” attempt by the left to do via the media and the courts what it is unable to do at the ballot box – remove the Prime Minister from office, according to Likud MKs, including Likud whip MK David Amsalem. Preventing such a “runaround” of the will of the people is why he is proposing a law that would prevent sitting Prime Ministers from being questioned on criminal activity without actual proof of wrongdoing.

Netanyahu is set to be questioned Monday by police on what the media has termed a “serious criminal case.” According to the allegations, Netanyahu accepted gifts from wealthy associates. The law does not necessarily ban a prime minister from receiving such gifts, but if a gift was accepted and a subsequent decision or law that positively affected the individual or institution was instituted, bribery charges could be brought. Police in recent days have questioned American millionaire Ron Lauder, who according to Haaretz testified that he gave gifts to Netanyahu and family members. There has been no independent corroboration of that claim, however.

In a statement Sunday, Netanyahu’s office said he had no problem answering police questions, because he has nothing to hide. “There is nothing for them to find because there is nothing there,” his office said. “I would suggest that the opposition call off their tailors who were invited to measure them for their leadership suits, because they are not going to need them.”

Speaking on Army Radio Monday, Amsalem said that the situation was getting out of hand. “In recent years there were several instances of prime ministers who were completely consumed by the investigations against them, even regarding things that happened long before they took office.” In such situations, Amsalem said, the leadership capabilities of the prime minister is affected, since it is natural that their first priority will be to keep themselves out of prison and thereby not serving the country. “To avoid this, we suggest not opening up criminal investigations against sitting prime ministers. There is plenty of time afterwards to prosecute.

“A prime minister cannot work in this way,” Amsalem said. “To get rid of a prime minister you must use the ballot box, not police investigations. Netanyahu is subject to investigation of every little thing, including ‘issues’ based on gossip. This has been going on for 20 years now.”

Amsalem said he would present the law to the Ministerial Law Committee in the coming weeks. With that, he admitted that applying the law to Netanyahu would be difficult, because of High Court objections to instituting laws retroactively.