Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu announced Wednesday that he would request immunity from the Knesset.
“It is my intention to lead Israel for many more years to historic achievements which I work for day and night – including tonight, before I came here,” Netanyahu said.
“My opponents have nothing to offer Israel other than incitement against me. Apparently, they can’t stand the accomplishments I’ve achieved for Israel.”
During his announcement Netanyahu emphasized that immunity, if granted, would only be temporary.
“Many of you believe, because you’ve been told it, that immunity is granted for life, that a person granted immunity never has to go to trial. That is simply not true. According to the law, immunity is always temporary. It ends with the termination of the term of the Knesset which granted it.”
“The immunity law is intended to shield elected officials from politically-motivated investigations, from politically-motivated indictments intended to harm the will of the people. The law is intended to make sure that elected officials will be able to serve the people, based on the will of the people.”
“I say ‘the will of the people’ – not the will of the bureaucrats.”
“Unfortunately, in my case, there is a politically-motivated investigation, selective enforcement, blackmailing of witnesses, pressuring witnesses, a sea of leaks and brainwashing going on night after night in order to create a ‘kangaroo court’ by manipulating public opinion.”
The Prime Minister said that he would request immunity from the Knesset in order to “continue to lead Israel to great achievements.”
“It is my intention to turn to the Knesset Speaker and to use my rights – and fulfill my obligations to continue to serve you for the sake of Israel’s future.”
Netanyahu faces indictments for fraud and breach of trust in the Case 1000 and 2000 investigations, which revolve around claims he received gifts from wealthy businessmen in return for favors; along with bribery, fraud, and breach of trust charges in the Case 4000 investigation, which centers on claims he used his position to speed up the implementation of regulatory changes in exchange for favorable coverage on the Walla! media outlet.
During his address, Netanyahu mocked the allegation.
“The charge is that I, Binyamin Netanyahu, got favorable coverage. Don’t laugh, that’s what it says!”
Under Israeli law, an MK facing indictment has 30 days from the time the charges list is sent from the Attorney General to the Knesset Speaker to request immunity. If immunity is requested, the Knesset’s House Committee must decide whether to grant immunity, conducting hearings with the MK in question and the Attorney General.
If the House Committee votes to approve the request, the Knesset plenum votes on whether to ratify the request.
The procedure for assessing an immunity request creates special difficulties in the current situation, however, as no House Committee has been formed for the 22nd Knesset, which failed to create a new government, leaving the hold-over caretaker government left from the 20th Knesset.
While Blue and White MK Avi Nissenkorn called on Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein (Likud) to form a new House Committee, in anticipation of Netanyahu’s immunity request, Edelstein said the request would examined only upon Edelstein’s return next week from a trip abroad.