TEL AVIV – The Blue and White party on Wednesday confirmed it was working on passing a law that would prevent Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, as an indicted prime minister, from leading the country.
Blue and White leader Benny Gantz first proposed the legislation after the September election, but it was rejected by Yisrael Beitenu head Avigdor Liberman. However, Liberman, who once again is shaping up to be the kingmaker following Monday’s elections, may back the law this time around, a senior party source told Hebrew-language news site, Zman Yisrael.
With more than 99 percent of the votes counted, Likud and its coalition partners secured 58 seats, leaving a 62-seat majority who could vote in favor of the legislation.
Blue and White, which controls the House Committee, would reportedly set a vote after the Knesset is sworn in on March 16. Netanyahu’s trial for the three corruption cases facing him will begin on March 17.
Blue and White MK Moshe Ya’alon, a former Likud minister, said on Wednesday members of the Likud had reached out to him privately to help in the efforts to oust Netanyahu.
“Bibi, after an election full of lies that hit a new low, in which you failed to win the 61 mandates that could have enabled you to be above the law, you are still trying to steal votes from defectors,” Ya’alon said. “There are many in Likud who have asked us for help getting rid of you. You will not find such overtures about Gantz in Blue and White.”
Senior members of Labor-Gesher-Meretz and the Joint List on Wednesday expressed their support for the law.
MK Nitzan Horowitz tweeted Wednesday that the law was “politically and morally justified and reflects the will of most voters.”
“Let’s go for it with everything we’ve got,” he added.
MK Ahmad Tibi told 103FM Radio Wednesday that “I estimate that [supporting it] will be our direction.”
While Liberman and his party have yet to say anything publicly, a senior source said he would likely back the move.
“Liberman didn’t support this law until now,” the source said “Netanyahu hadn’t been indicted and he didn’t want to put the cart before the horse like Blue and White and get embarrassed later, and he didn’t want legislation that would intervene in the voters’ choice.
“Now the situation is different, there is an indictment — and there is an urgent need to prevent Netanyahu from continuing to dissolve the Knesset again and again and plunge Israel into fourth elections.”
“Since Blue and White, Labor and the Joint List will support this law, it has 62 backers,” he concluded. “Checkmate.”
So far, one opposition MK has said he was against the move.
MK Omer Bar-Lev of Labor-Gesher-Meretz said: “I fought against personal laws when they helped Netanyahu, and I oppose the initiative to legislate a personal law against him.”
“This is not the way to replace Netanyahu,” he added.
The right-wing bloc expressed outrage at Blue and White’s efforts, calling it a “coup.”
Yamina party leader Naftali Bennett said it was “an extreme and anti-democratic move, that is a spit in the face of half the country.”
“Two days ago there were elections, and already they are trying to bypass the people’s will through illegitimate methods,” he added.
Shas leader Aryeh Deri said the proposed legislation was a “disgrace” that totally “breaks the rules of the political game.” He slammed Blue and White for being “willing to sacrifice what is best for the country and the people’s unity on the altar of personal hatred toward Netanyahu.”
Culture Minister Miri Regev, of Likud, charged Gantz with “giving in to Tibi’s pressure” and launching an “attempted coup.”