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New Israel law to shield PM from corruption charges

PM’s office rocked by fresh scandal following reports of illegal wiretapping requests [MathKnight/Flickr]

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party is to propose a bill for a law to give immunity to Knesset members from any corruption investigations, Safa reported yesterday.

The bill was proposed for the first time in August last year, but it was not advanced by the Knesset.

The Chairman of the Knesset’s Interior Committee, MK David Amsalem, asked: “Is it reasonable to investigate [the American President] Donald Trump over an allegation related to cigars?” hinting to the allegations that Netanyahu received cigars as a bribe.

When he first suggested the law last year, Amsalem said it should only cover minor offences carrying a prison sentence of up to six months, but later proposed more serious crimes should also be included.

Read: Most Israelis believe Netanyahu guilty of corruption

“I have asked my legal adviser to redraft the bill so that it will also apply to all offences falling under the rubric of public morality, including bribe-taking,” Amsalem said.

For his part, the Chairman of the Government Coalition David Bitan, who is a Likud leader and very close to Netanyahu, said he is confident that the Knesset would approve the bill.

Safa reported that while speaking to Israeli Radio Bitan reiterated that Likud would put the bill forward for a vote when the Knesset convenes before going into recess at the beginning of next year.

As this would-be law will not protect the current PM, observers and opposition members expect Netanyahu to call for early elections hoping to take up office for another term in an effort to evade the wave of corruption allegations surrounding him.

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