To seek parliamentary immunity or not: That is the question for Netanyahu

Media reports have stated that Netanyahu himself is torn over whether to make the request.

By World Israel News Staff 

To seek parliamentary immunity or not: that is the question that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu must answer by the end of Wednesday.

It’s a 30-day deadline since Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit presented the Knesset with the details of the indictments against the premier in three cases of alleged corruption.

It’s more complicated than usual because the Knesset hasn’t been fully functional for months, with the inability of either Netanyahu or Blue and White leader MK Benny Gantz to form a new governing coalition. As a result, the House Committee, which normally handles requests for immunity, does not currently exist.

There has been a move to set up a committee, but there might not be a parliamentary majority to approve it. MK Avigdor Liberman, head of the Israel Beiteinu party and dubbed “kingmaker” because of his ability to make or break a new government over the past several months, opposes the establishment of such a committee and a request by the prime minister for immunity.

Liberman has stated on a number of occasions, including Wednesday, that he believes the prime minister should work to prove his innocence in court and not delay the process.

Media reports have stated that Netanyahu himself is torn over whether to make the request.

He does not want it to be an issue in the current campaign for the March 2 Knesset election, reports Kan public radio. He also doesn’t want the media dealing with it so much, the report adds, suggesting that, in a way, he would like to make the request and have it either rejected or just not handled due to the absence of the House Committee.

The prime minister is accused of fraud and breach of public trust, and in one case, is alleged to have been involved in bribery.

Netanyahu’s argument for immunity would reportedly be based on the premise that the allegations against him are part of a political coup to topple him using the legal system. The prime minister maintains that it should be up to the public to decide in the upcoming vote for parliament whether he should continue at his position.

Netanyahu says that if his Likud party prevails and he becomes premier again, forcing him to stand trial would impinge on his ability to run the country properly.

In a Likud primary for the party leadership last week, Netanyahu held on to the position of chairman by defeating MK Gideon Sa’ar in a landslide victory.