Coalition Clears Away 1,281 Opposition Objections to Recommendations Bill

YERUSHALAYIM -

The Knesset’s Internal Affairs Committee has succeeded in removing 1,281 stumbling blocks placed by opposition parties in the path of the Recommendations Bill, clearing the way for final voting in the plenum next week, The Times of Israel reported on Wednesday.

Committee chairman David Amsalem, who is also the bill’s sponsor, saw to it that the 1,281 objections submitted against the bill were rejected, allowing for the the 8-5 vote approving it for report back to the plenum. A spokesperson for Amsalem said they expect it will be passed into law.

The current version of the contentious bill says that in investigations into politicians and public officials, police will be barred from commenting on whether there is sufficient evidence for indictment. However, it also states that the attorney general, state prosecution, or other prosecutors may request police opinion, if necessary.

While earlier versions of the bill sought to impose a one-year jail sentence on leaks from investigators in ongoing cases, the final version merely refers to an existing, but unenforced, clause in the penal code (117) that imposes three years’ imprisonment for leaks.

In order to deflect accusations that the law was designed to protect Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who has been under investigation for months and could face indictment, the prime minister last week ordered that the draft should be amended so as not to apply to him.

However, opposition leaders noted that the Likud-led committee rejected amendments to exclude investigations into all public officials from the bill. The version passed on Wednesday only excludes PM Netanyahu, but other officials could still find some protection in the bill.