Knesset Dust-Up Over PM’s Immunity

YERUSHALAYIM -
Blue and White parliament member Avi Nissenkorn in May 27, 2019. (Noam Revkin Fenton/Flash90)

Members of the Likud and Blue and White parties wrangled on Sunday over the parliamentary process that could allow the Knesset to rule on a potential request for immunity from prosecution from Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, according to media reports.

The Arrangements Committee, currently controlled by Blue and White, prevailed in a decision to authorize it to debate such a request, if PM Netanyahu files one, but not until there had been heated exchanges that led to a shouting match and a walkout by right-wing MKs.

For all the acrimony, the opposition had little to show for it, in view of the fact that the decision must be approved by Speaker Yuli Edelstein (Likud) and the Knesset legal advisor.

At issue, among other things, is whether the Arrangement Committee can expropriate for itself powers that normally belong to the House Committee. The latter has been inactive due to the lack of a permanent government, hence the maneuver to circumvent it on Sunday. Blue and White would like to have the machinery in place in case the prime minister does elect to ask for immunity, which the party believes it can win a vote to have rejected.

Blue and White sought to install its MK Avi Nissenkorn, in the role of chairman, a maneuver Likud tried to fight off, insisting that a new Agreements Committee be jointly headed by Nissenkorn and Likud MK Miki Zohar.

The two MKs wound up in what was described as a shouting match, and an angry walkout ensued.