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Israel advances law barring police from making recommendations on indictments

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu [Benjamin Netanyahu/Facebook]

The Israeli parliament passed in a first vote on Monday a law that would bar police from recommending whether charges should be filed against public officials, in what critics slammed as a transparent attempt to shield Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The Israeli premier is currently the subject of two separate corruption investigations. The so-called 'Recommendation Law' would apply retroactively to include both investigations.

The Knesset passed the bill in its first reading by a vote of 46-37; it will now return to the Interior and Environment Committee before heading for its second and third readings before becoming law.

The coalition is fast-tracking the law, and it could be on the statute books by the end of the month; the vote Monday evening came just hours after the bill's passage through the Internal Affairs Committee.

Read: Israeli PM questioned for 6th time in corruption probe

The current version of the bill is a compromise, as it gives the attorney general the option of taking the police's recommendation over an indictment into consideration, while ensuring that recommendation would not be made public.

Yair Lapid, head of the opposition Yesh Atid party, derided the legislation as "The Netanyahu Law", telling the Knesset: "It's a law made for a single person". Lapid said that should the law be passed, his party would file a petition against it to the Supreme Court.

Amongst other voices of opposition to the bill, MK Tamar Zandberg (Meretz) slammed the law as "a corrupt bill to protect a corrupt prime minister".

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