Likud Insiders Slam Edelstein for Failing to Stop Immunity Committee Progress

Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein is attempting to hold off a meeting of the Knesset committee that will choose MKs to sit on the committee that will hear Binyamin Netanyahu’s request for parliamentary immunity on the corruption charges against him.

But Edelstein is not seeking to prevent the meeting from taking place altogether – and as a result, he has become the target for vitriol and insults from Likud insiders, who accuse him of colluding with Blue and White to topple the prime minister.

On Monday, the Knesset Control Committee, acting on the opinion of Knesset legal adviser Eyal Yinon, authorized the meeting of the Knesset Committee that will choose MKs to hear Netanyahu’s request for immunity. Likud MKs stormed out of that meeting, saying that the Committee had no right to meet without authorization from Edelstein, which he had refused to provide – and that Yinon had no business ruling on the matter because of a conflict of interest, due to the fact that his wife is on the team prosecuting Netanyahu.

Blue and White MKs, who constitute the majority of the Knesset Committee, are demanding that a meeting be held immediately, but Edelstein is seeking to delay that by a week or more.

Nevertheless, Likud insiders said that if he wanted to, he could prevent a meeting from taking place at all – and the fact that he was not doing that showed that he was likely conspiring to help Blue and White replace Netanyahu.

Likud MK Miki Zohar said in an interview with the Knesset Channel that “Edelstein could have prevented Monday’s meeting from taking place, but he did not do so. He says that he is trying to act in a manner ‘befitting the Knesset,’ but allowing this kidnapping of the democratic process is the most unbefitting thing you can imagine.”

Channel 13 quoted senior Likud officials as having told Netanyahu that “you have been stabbed many times, but the sharpest cut is the one you got from Edelstein.”

With the meeting apparently set to take place, Netanyahu is developing a strategy for dealing with the immunity hearing. The prime minister met Monday with MKs in the right-wing bloc to discuss the matter, with one idea being a complete boycott of the discussions by all right-wing MKs, in order to stress the illegitimacy of the process.

With that, Netanyahu’s attorneys are planning a “blanket” campaign, seeking to call hundreds of witnesses in a long, drawn-out questioning process in order to prolong the hearings until after new elections, when committee memberships will change, assuming Netanyahu is in a position to form a government, Channel 13 reported.