Knesset Legal Adviser: Speaker Cannot Prevent Forming House Committee

Knesset legal adviser attorney Eyal Inon.(Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

The Knesset Legal Adviser Eyal Yinon issued a legal opinion Sunday that Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein cannot prevent establishment of new committees, including the Knesset House Committee to discuss Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s request for immunity from prosecution on corruption charges.

With this, the High Court rejected a petition filed by the Likud party to prevent the publication of Yinon’s ruling on whether Edelestein can prevent the beginning of immunity proceedings against the prime minister.

Yinon, the Likud’s petition said, has a vested interest in seeing the session take place and as such cannot be relied on to make an objective decision on the matter.

That conflict of interest revolves around the fact that Yinon’s wife is on the team prosecuting Netanyahu in several of the cases against him. “Does anyone imagine that if Yinon’s spouse were on the Netanyahu defense team that he would be allowed to deal with anything having to do with Netanyahu, directly or indirectly? Would not the legal system marshal its resources to prevent that – justifiably? Would not Yinon exempt himself from from dealing with the matter? Just as Yinon would be disqualified from handing down an opinion in that situation, so should he be disqualified in this situation,” the petition read.

While it’s likely that the committee discussions would go on for several months anyway, Netanyahu prefers to have the next Knesset consider his request, in the hope that the rightwing bloc will form a government and control the Knesset with at least 61 MKs.

In order for the Knesset to reconvene, the Knesset Speaker would have to get approval from the president, but the speaker, Likud MK Yuli Edelstein, has so far refused to do so. Yinon’s opinion would not force him to do so, but would put him under great pressure to convene the session.

Meanwhile, preparing for the possibility that a session will be called, Netanyahu has ordered Likud MKs to remain in the country, in order to vote for a committee that will favor him.