Opposition came in quickly and furiously to a new proposal by Likud whip MK David Amsalem, who plans on introducing a law that would prevent the state from seeking harsher penalties for individuals convicted of various “white collar” crimes, if their initial sentence was ten years or less. The law would apply to convictions in cases of bribery, corruption and other related matters.
Amsalem said that it was inappropriate for the state to throw its weight behind the “pursuit” on an individual with far fewer resources, just to increase his or her punishment by a few years. “In order to balance the power between the state and the individual, the defendant should be the one with a greater right of appeal than the state. The right of the state to appeal a punishment should be reserved for special and specific cases. A moral country does not pursue a citizen who was already judged, albeit less harshly than prosecutors wanted.”
Opposition MKs slammed the proposal as another “trick” by the Likud to protect Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. “Amsalem is the tailor who sews together laws specifically tailored for Netanyahu, a personal messenger whose purpose is to help the Prime Minister with his legal issues,” referring to the investigations Netanyahu is facing on corruption charges. “This is not the way for an elected official to act. Amsalem is just an example of a government that is worried about itself. It needs to be sent home.”
Zionist Camp MK Miki Rosenthal slammed Amsalem as well, saying that “Amsalem is truly a trailblazer. In the past, MKs labored secretly to help corrupt cronies with legislation. Amsalem is the first one to do it in the open. Is this really what you were elected to do? I know it seems far, but the Netanyahu era is almost over, and on the day after, when we start to repair the damage, you will be remembered mostly for your open support for corruption.”
Also criticizing the proposal was Meretz head MK Tamar Zandberg, who said that “the obsession of the coalition with changing the legal system in order to protect a prime minister who is enmeshed in corruption scandals is a black mark on Israeli democracy. They are willing to give serious criminals a pass just to achieve this political objective.”
Last week, a report on Channel 20 said that the likelihood that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will be indicted in any of the investigations against him is close to zero. The report quoted a senior official in the State Prosecutor’s Office as saying that, with all the work police have invested in the cases, they have little actual evidence. “I would be very surprised if the attorney general would decide to indict the Prime Minister in either of the cases against him,” the source said.