The Knesset Arrangements Committee voted today on setting up the Knesset House Committee to discuss the application by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for immunity from prosecution as a member of the Knesset. Under current law, immunity is not automatic, but can be granted by the Knesset to its members.
Arrangements Committee chairman MK Avi Nissenkorn (Blue and White) accepted the proposal by MK Oded Forer (Yisrael Beitenu) that the other permanent Knesset committees should be formed as well. Both matters will be referred to a vote in the Knesset plenum. The motion was passed by a majority of sixteen to five.
Nissenkorn said that the Knesset House Committee would be made up of eight members from Likud and eight from Blue and White, two from Shas, two from Yisrael Beitenu, two from Labor-Gesher, three from the Joint Arab List, one from the Democratic Union (Meretz), one from New Right, one from the Union of Right-Wing Parties, and one from United Torah Judaism - 30 members altogether.
The Arrangements Committee proceeded on the basis of the opinion by Knesset legal counsel Eyal Yinon that it did not require written permission from the Speaker of the Knesset, Yuli Edelstein, to convene, and that no bar exists to the Knesset House Committee discussing Netanyahu's request.
Only three Likud members attended today's session of the Arrangements Committee: Miki Zohar, Shlomo Karhi, and Sharren Haskel. All three voted against the motion to convene the House Committee, along with the representatives of the other parties in the right-wing block. Zohar said of the committee's proceedings: "What's happening here is a disgrace. It's the formation of a circus 'just not Bibi' committee."
Netanyahu said in response to the vote: "Blue and White has zero achievements for the citizens of Israel, so they have hijacked the Knesset to promote their only campaign - 'just not Bibi'. Good luck to them. We will come to the citizens of Israel with our immense achievements, and with huge achievements that we will very shortly record for the State of Israel."
Netanyahu had expected that his immunity request would not be dealt with until after the election on March 2, in which he hopes to win a Knesset majority. As things stand, on the basis of declarations by party leaders, a vote in the current Knesset can be expected to go against him.
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on January 13, 2020
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