Knesset Legal Advisor Accused of Conflict of Interest in Immunity Issue

YERUSHALAYIM -
The Knesset’s Legal Advisor, Eyal Yinon. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

Knesset legal advisor Eyal Yinon is the latest government official to be sucked into the maelstrom of the multiple corruption cases involving Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu‏‏.

Yinon was accused on Monday of a conflict of interest in his answers to questions from Speaker Yuli Edelstein and others about the Blue and White party’s proposal to open committee hearings on Netanyahu’s request for parliamentary immunity before the March 2 elections. The opposition parties hope to get the process going so that a plenum vote can be taken rejecting immunity before March 2.

Following media disclosure that Yinon’s wife, Amit Marari, a Justice Ministry lawyer who worked with former State Prosecutor Shai Nitzan on the Netanyahu cases, MK Miki Zohar, the Likud whip, urged Yinon to recuse himself.

The Likud argued that said it was unfair that Yinon, whose wife had a part in the indictments, was now giving the green light to proceed with a move to deny the prime minister immunity from prosecution.

Yinon reportedly agreed to do so, but on Monday denied it.

A Knesset spokesperson issued a statement saying that “contrary to the reports, the Knesset legal adviser does not intend to recuse himself from dealing with the procedural matters currently on the table.”

“The Knesset legal adviser has adhered to a strict agreement regarding conflicts of interest throughout the years in which he and his partner have had parallel roles,” a spokesman for the Knesset said.

Yinon was further quoted as making a distinction between the strictly procedural issues he has been dealing with, where he sees no conflict of interest, and any deliberations on the immunity request itself, which might require him to disqualify himself.