Netanyahu’s immunity strategy hits major bump as Knesset committee to debate request

Netanyahu’s effort to delay discussion about his immunity request until after the elections appears to have failed.

By David Isaac, World Israel News 

On Tuesday, Israel’s media reported that the office of the Attorney General decided that a Knesset committee can debate Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s immunity request. The decision throws a monkey wrench into Netanyahu’s strategy in requesting immunity, pundits say.

According to reports, Netanyahu, who requested immunity the evening of Jan. 1 in a televised address, had hoped that the relevant Knesset committee – the House Committee – would not meet until after the elections on March 2, essentially freezing discussion of the immunity issue and keeping the criminal corruption cases he faces from moving forward.

However, on Jan. 5. Knesset legal adviser Eyal Yinon issued an opinion stating that the House Committee could meet immediately to discuss the immunity request. His decision sparked outrage among Netanyahu supporters and approval among the opposition.

Yinon’s decision was cast into doubt when it became known that his wife, an attorney, worked on building the Netanyahu cases for the prosecution.

However, with the Attorney General office’s decision the way is paved for the committee to meet.

On Thursday, Kan Reshet Bet reports that Netanyahu sources say the prime minister has admitted there is no way to stop the committee from meeting.

The Likud will try to delay the committee’s meeting by appealing to the Supreme Court, the report says.

It’s not clear if the committee will or will not decide that Netanyahu’s request for immunity is fair. Its focus will be on whether the cases brought against Netanyahu were made for purely legal reasons or motivated by political ones, as Netanyahu claims.