The Israeli Knesset has voted 46-36 in favor of a new bill dubbed the “Netanyahu Law,” which aims to retroactively protect Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu from two different ongoing investigations into corruption.
Technically the bill would protect all elected officials from such investigations, though Netanyahu is clearly the most obvious and primary beneficiary. The bill intends to forbid police from recommending charges be brought in their investigations.
Under the law, which still has to survive additional readings in the Knesset, police involved in investigations are effectively gagged from confirming if a crime was committed by a public official. Conceivably an Attorney General is still allowed to solicit such an assessment from the police, but it has to be totally secret, and what he does with such a recommendation is up to him.
Even in these rare occasions when a recommendation is offered, it must remain secret under this new law, threatening a one-year jail term for anyone who leaks the result of investigations to the press.
Netanyahu allies are the sponsors of the bill, saying it is needed to protect the reputation of suspects. David Bitan, one of the coalition heads, added that “the public doesn’t need to know everything.”