MK Miki Zohar
MK Miki ZoharDanny Shem Tov / Knesset Spokesman

MK Miki Zohar of the Likud party claims to be entirely unconcerned at the prospect of a new law put forward by Justice Minister Gideon Sa’ar (New Hope) passing in the Knesset. The law would bar anyone under criminal indictment from serving as prime minister, and is widely accepted as being aimed against former premier MK Benjamin Netanyahu, who is currently standing trial on corruption charges.

Speaking to 103FM, Zohar expressed doubt regarding the chances of the law being passed at all.

“We’ll soon see whether the law passes in a Knesset vote,” he said, “but even if it does, it’s not the end of the world. Such a piece of legislation would serve as an excellent incentive for hundreds of thousands of our voters who didn’t come to the polling stations last elections, to get out there and vote next time around. They know that we’ll overturn such a law and that Netanyahu will return as prime minister. We’re not worried at all.”

The law currently bars government ministers, mayors and the heads of public companies from serving in their positions if they are under criminal indictment – so why should a prime minister be different? Zohar turned the question around: “For these people, too, the law can be seen as a form of discrimination – absolutely.”

Zohar was then asked to comment on a recent attack made by his fellow party member, MK Miri Regev, who in the heat of an argument in the Knesset referred to a coalition MK, Ram Ben Barak (Yesh Atid), as an “Israel-hater.”

“She shouldn’t have said that to Ram Ben Barak,” Zohar said. “I disagree with him entirely, but he is certainly no hater of Israel. He has made huge contributions to the State.”

Regev’s outburst occurred in the course of a discussion on the Cultural Loyalty bill submitted by Regev, which seeks to ensure that the government does not fund cultural venues or ventures that are deemed anti-Israel. Ben Barak, a former deputy head of the Mossad, currently serves as chairman of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee.

MK Ofir Sofer (Religious Zionism) also distanced himself from Regev’s words, saying Wednesday, “There’s a vast political and ideological chasm separating me from Ram Ben Barak, but despite that, we’re great friends and we also know how to agree on a not inconsiderable number of issues. I spoke with Ram this evening and told him how distressed I was that such an attack had been made on him. Ram truly loves the country and has made a huge contribution to its defense and security. It would have been far better if such words had not been spoken.”