Report: Netanyahu considers withdrawing immunity request

Court proceedings in Netanyahu’s corruption cases cannot begin until the immunity issue is resolved.

By World Israel News Staff

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is considering withdrawing his request for immunity from corruption charges, reports Channel 12 News.

The Knesset House Committee, a parliamentary body that considers immunity requests, is expected to vote on Tuesday whether to grant Netanyahu immunity from prosecution. Netanyahu’s opponents, who make up a majority in the current parliament, are expected to deny the request.

Netanyahu’s right and religious political allies say that they will boycott Tuesday’s vote, according to the Kan public broadcaster.

In a statement, Blue and White denounced the boycott, saying: “It’s unfortunate that the head of the transition government continues to disrespect the Knesset and democratic rule and refuses to have its people take part in the discussion of the immunity request — which he initiated to evade justice. Netanyahu asked for a discussion of his immunity, and Netanyahu will get one.”

Court proceedings in Netanyahu’s corruption cases cannot begin until the immunity issue is resolved.

Netanyahu, who requested immunity on January 1 in a televised address, had hoped that the House Committee would not meet until after the elections on March 2, when he hopes a more sympathetic slate of lawmakers will be chosen. If his request is rejected now, he cannot ask again in the next parliament.

Netanyahu’s Likud party has tried to delay the immunity proceedings through a series of legal challenges. But the Knesset’s legal adviser Eyal Yinon ruled that there were no grounds for preventing the formation of a committee that deals with immunity requests.

According to Yinon, even though a transition Knesset usually cannot form committees such as the one that rules on immunity requests, the law says that such requests should be considered “as soon as possible,” and therefore the House Committee seats could be filled.

Despite belonging to the Likud, Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein approved the convening of Tuesday’s vote, explaining that his responsibility first and foremost is to adhere to the law.

Netanyahu was charged in November with fraud, breach of trust, and accepting bribes in three cases involving trading political and regulatory favors for positive news coverage, and accepting gifts from billionaire friends.