Israel parliament 'kills bill' barring MKs charged with criminal offences as Netanyahu's bid for power continues
Israel's former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu chances of a political comeback were boosted Wednesday as a bill seeking to bar lawmakers charged for crimes from the Knesset premiership is unlikely to be passed, according to local media reports.
The bill, championed by Knesset member Avigdor Lieberman, sought to bar lawmakers charged with serious crimes from becoming prime minister - a move widely seen to target Netanyahu, who has been indicted on charges of bribery, fraud, and breach of trust.
Lieberman and Housing Minister Ze’ev Elkin said on Tuesday that they hoped to attach the bill to a vote on dissolving the Knesset. However, the Knesset Presidium (the speaker and their deputies) denied the request, according to the Times of Israel.
The day before, current Premier Naftali Bennett and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Alternate Prime Minister Yair Lapid announced the dissolution of their coalition, triggering Israel’s fifth general election in less than four years.
"These elections are the result of intrigues, lies, and harassment of one man, and his name is Benjamin Netanyahu," said Lieberman according to The Times of Israel.
"The main goal is to prevent [Netanyahu] from returning to power."
The bill will have to be submitted separately due to the Knesset Presidium’s decision.
However, given that the Knesset is headed for dissolution, there is little time for this to take place.
Bennett previously opposed the bill due to fears it would break up his coalition, pushing Yamina party MK Nir Orbach to give his support to the opposition, reported Israel’s Channel 12.
However, given Orbach has signalled he is leaving the coalition, it is unclear what position Bennett will take next.
Almost immediately after news broke of the Israeli government’s collapse, Netanyahu declared his intention to "form a national government".
His corruption trial began in 2020 and combines three separate cases of abuse of power and breach of trust.
The Israel elections will be held in October. Until then, Lapid will act as caretaker prime minister.