Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has decided to throw his full political weight behind a legislative proposal to provide him with immunity from criminal prosecution while he remains in office, according to media reports on Wednesday night.
“The citizens of Israel deserve a full-time prime minister. After I finish my job I will deal with the trial,” he was quoted by Channel 12 as telling Likud associates in a briefing.
Referring to his recent election victory despite pending indictments on corruption charges, Netanyahu continued:
“The citizens of Israel knew what my situation was and chose me. If I thought about my personal good, I would submit to the trial when I was prime minister and not as a private citizen, but I understand that this is not in the best interest of the state.”
The prime minister added that they will fight with all their might to obtain passage of the legislation.
Netanyahu himself has not commented on the report, which comes after weeks of speculation that he was considering the move.
Although existing law already provides for any MK to obtain immunity by a majority vote in the Knesset House Committee and then in the Knesset plenum, the current proposal takes it further.
While details have not been made public, and are probably still being worked out behind closed doors, Haaretz reported on Monday that what is contemplated is a measure to grant him ironclad immunity, such that it would protect him even from a High Court ruling to revoke it.
The threatened strike at the Court’s power of judicial review of Knesset laws has aroused intense opposition in the judiciary.