According to Israeli media, Blue and White leader Benny Gantz has signed off on the idea.
By David Isaac, World Israel News
Having been battered at the ballot boxes, Blue and White’s leaders are considering a roundabout way of taking down Benjamin Netanyahu. They’re looking at passing a law that would prohibit a prime minister facing indictment from serving in that role. The threat may be real.
According to Israeli media, Blue and White leader Benny Gantz has signed off on the idea. The Labour-Gesher-Meretz faction and the Arab Joint List are reportedly on board with the initiative.
They estimate that gaining enough votes for the new law will become much more realistic if it turns out that the right-wing bloc only wins 58 seats. The right-wing bloc has hovered between 58-to-59 seats. However, with 99% of the count in, it currently stands at 58.
“We’ll have a majority in the new Knesset to pass a law preventing a prime minister from serving under indictment,” said Meretz leader Nitzan Horowitz, Haaretz reports. “It reflects the will of the public, and it’s the moral thing to do.”
Whether it’s the “moral” thing to do depends on whom you ask. The same report quotes Defense Minister Naftali Bennett, leader of the Yemina party and a member of Netanyahu’s coalition, calling the idea “anti-democratic.” He said it’s like “spitting in the face of half of the country.”
“Two days ago there were elections,” he said, “and they are already trying to circumvent the will the people.”
Ayelet Shaked, also of Yemina, pointed to the irony of Blue and White leading the initiative, given that it argued during the campaign that it was saving democracy. “A camp with the heights of democracy warbling its throat is trying to abolish the election results through legislation with the help of terrorists,” she said.
“Erdogan would not do it better,” she said, referring to a Blue and White campaign slogan comparing Netanyahu to the Turkish leader considered anti-democratic, Recep Erdogan.
Ynet reports that Ahmed Tibi of the Arab Joint List said on Wednesday:, “A prime minister with a bribery charge must resign in every civilized country.”
Blue and White MK Ofer Shelah told Ynet that that the party intends to do everything to prevent Netanyahu from serving, “including a parliamentary move.”
He said the opposition is in the midst of building the majority in the Knesset to achieve that goal.
“Of course, if we don’t achieve this, we will accept the decision of the voter,” he said.
The threat is real. Although the center-left-Arab bloc is made up of strange bedfellows and can’t form a majority government, it may be able to pass a law effectively blocking Netanyahu from serving as prime minister. The key is if it enlist the help of Israel Beiteinu’s Avigdor Liberman.
Liberman currently is on track to win seven Knesset seats. The former member of Netanyahu’s coalition has made it clear he doesn’t think the prime minister should serve under indictment. If he throws his support behind the initiative, the legislation would gain the support of 61 or 62 seats, enough to push the law forward.