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Netanyahu may be Israel’s most unpopular prime minister in the nation’s history, his far-right Likud party getting only 23.4% of the popular vote in 2015 elections.
Israeli governance is always by coalition, the party winning the largest percentage of votes forming it, if able.
Likud has 30 seats in the 120-seat Knesset, a mandate to govern only with enough coalition partners for a majority – a razor thin margin for Netanyahu to remain prime minister with 61 seats.
According to Haaretz,
“(t)ens of thousands of people rallied in protest on Saturday night in Tel Aviv against government corruption and new legislation that critics say is intended to shield Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu from police investigations.”
Others rallied in Jerusalem, Haifa and elsewhere, protesting against the “Recommendations Law” – called the “anti-police law” or “Netanyahu law” by critics.
Protests against Israeli government corruption on Tel Aviv’s Rothschild Blvd., December 2, 2017. (Source: Meged Gozany)
It prohibits police from recommending prosecution of Israel officials after conducting an investigation into their shady practices – a virtual Netanyahu protection act.
He’s been investigated for alleged bribery, fraud, and breach of trust.
He inappropriately or illegally accepted lavish gifts from wealthy supporters, amounting to possible bribery.
He was caught on tape red-handed, negotiating a quid pro quo with Yedioth Ahronoth publisher Arnon Mozes for more favorable broadsheet coverage in return for legislation prohibiting distribution of the free daily Israel Hayom, YA’s main competitor, owned by Netanyahu supporter Sheldon Adelson.
On November 26, the Ministerial Committee for Legislation approved the proposed bill – despite strong objections from Israel’s law enforcement community.
It passed its first reading, two more required for it to become law. Likudnik MK David Amsalem introduced the measure with Netanyahu in mind.
In Tel Aviv, thousands protested against it near Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit’s home – under the banner “March of Shame,” carrying signs criticizing Netanyahu regime corruption.
Zionist Union opposition leader Isaac Herzog tweeted protesters were motivated by a “strong sense of unfairness, from disgust with corruption and strong moral opposition to a law tailor-made for one man.”
Herzog urged them to lay siege to the Knesset to prevent the bill’s passage, second and third readings expected early this week.
On Facebook, Labor party leader Avi Gabby urged MKs to oppose the bill, saying
“(t)he recommendations bill will determine what side of history you stand on: on the side of corruption or the side of the Israeli people.”
Amsalem fast-tracked the measure for swift Knesset passage. After several cabinet members expressed reservations, it was revised.
It now lets police continue making recommendations to prosecutors, short of explicitly calling for indictments – in all cases except ones overseen by a prosecutor, usually high-profile ones like ongoing investigations into alleged Netanyahu bribery, fraud, and breach of trust.
In its current revised form, still a work in progress, police are prohibited from making recommendations based on evidence for an indictment of Netanyahu – or any other high-level Israeli official.
Mandelblit, State Prosecutor Shai Nitzan and Israel Police oppose the legislation. So do other Israelis believing no one is above the law.
Under every coalition regime in its history, Israel governed lawlessly, brutalizing Palestinians, stealing their land and resources, mass-incarcerating them for not being Jews, waging war on its neighbors, partnering with US high crimes.
Bribery, fraud, breach of trust and other civil crimes are minor by comparison – yet important enough to demand prosecution for offenders, including Netanyahu.
Stephen Lendman is a Research Associate of the CRG, Correspondent of Global Research based in Chicago.
My newest book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”