Prominent Likud parliamentarian Gideon Sa’ar has publicly criticised plans to pass a special law that would grant Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu immunity from prosecution while in office.
As reported by the Times of Israel, Sa’ar told Channel 12 news that “this legislation offers zero benefit and causes maximum damage”.
Netanyahu faces indictment in the coming months, “pending a hearing before Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit, in three corruption investigations”, the report explained.
“We told the public [during the recent election campaign] that we weren’t going to do this”, Sa’ar told the interviewer. “I think a law like this will hurt Likud and won’t help the prime minister.”
Sa’ar added that he “isn’t the only one who’s concerned” amongst senior Likud figures.
Opposition politicians praised Sa’ar’s intervention, with Yair Lapid – head of Yesh Atid and number two within the Blue and White list – hailed Sa’ar for having “political courage to go against Netanyahu”.
“I support Sa’ar and call on all coalition Knesset members to join Gideon, the immunity law, will not just damage Likud, it will damage the State of Israel,” Lapid added.
Ofer Shelah, another Blue and White MK, called Sa’ar’s comments “the first crack in the wall,” and predicted on Twitter that others would follow suit.
Despite blasting the rumoured immunity law, Sa’ar defended Netanyahu’s right to serve as prime minister while under indictment.
“There’s no question the law says explicitly that he can serve,” he said, adding that “the public, which knew about the suspicions and voted [for Netanyahu] even when it knew the suspicions, so I don’t think there’s anything there that prevents the prime minister from continuing to serve.”