Yisrael Beytenu head Avigdor Liberman is apparently bent on blocking what might in the end be Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s only chance to stay out of jail.
Liberman indicated on Monday that he and his party would not support legislation to provide Netanyahu with immunity from prosecution. Without those eight votes, it’s unlikely the prime minister would be able to pass such a bill.
Israel’s kingmaker was not without good wishes for Netanyahu, though.
“I hope that at the end of this process the prime minister will come out clean as snow, but the only place for that to happen is in court,” Liberman told his party’s faction meeting in the Knesset, according to The Times of Israel.
“I think the only thing that will be acceptable to the citizens of Israel will be a decision in court. Any other attempt to solve this in the Knesset will damage public trust in the system and the very system itself,” he opined.
Also on Monday, Labor-Gesher leader Amir Peretz said he asked the Knesset legal adviser to instruct Speaker Yuli Edelstein to move right away in forming the House Committee so that an immunity request, if made, can be debated.
Without this, “the stain of this indictment will remain in the Knesset for many more months,” Peretz warned.
Under normal circumstances, the Knesset House Committee is only formed after coalition agreements are reached, which usually include committee assignments. If that procedure is followed, it could be several months before elections are held and a new government is formed, allowing the committee to take up the issue of immunity.