Ministers Vote in Favor of Term Limits for PM

Justice Minister Gideon Sa’ar. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

The Ministerial Committee on Legislation voted unanimously Sunday in favor of setting term limits for Israel’s prime minister, in an important step toward passing the bill into law in the month ahead.

Justice Minister Gideon Sa’ar, who initiated the bill and chairs the committee, defended the legislation.

“Not having term limits for prime minister encourages corruption,” Sa’ar told reporters outside the Cabinet meeting.

Sa’ar received approval from Prime Minister Naftali Bennett to go ahead with the bill, because it will not be retroactive and therefore would not apply to opposition leader Binyamin Netanyahu, who could serve eight more years as prime minister until the bill applied to him.

Another Sa’ar-sponsored bill, which would prevent anyone under a serious indictment – including Netanyahu – from forming a government, has not obtained the support of Bennett, and Sa’ar said there is no deadline to pass it.

The Likud said in response that “former Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu rejects any law restricting any tenure, whether it applies to him or not.

“Parliamentary democracies do not restrict the tenure of prime ministers but leave to the public the decision to choose in free elections who will continue to lead it each time.

“For example, German citizens repeatedly elected Chancellors Kohl and Merkel to 16-year terms, as did Canadian citizens who elected Pierre Trudeau to a 15-year term.

“No one thinks that Canada and Germany are not exemplary democracies.

“The attempt of those who do not pass the blocking percentage to limit the public’s choice as to who will lead it is clearly anti-democratic.”