Odeh: We’ll Support Bill Barring Netanyahu from Becoming PM

The leader of Joint List, MK Ayman Odeh (Hadash) announced on Wednesday, October 20, that the bloc’s six lawmakers could lend support from the opposition to a government-sponsored bill that would effectively bar former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu from contending again for the premiership.

Odeh made this statement after it became clear that some members of Naftali Bennett’s coalition, among them his Yamina party’s No. 2 politician, Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked, oppose such legislation. Odeh wrote in a tweet: “Shaked has only one Knesset vote; we [the Joint List] have six. Gideon Sa’ar [Bennett’s Justice Minister], the law can be passed as early as next week.”

Joint List lawmakers celebrated on Wednesday afternoon, October 20, after the Knesset approved a bill to form a parliamentary committee to review the hiring of Arab teachers in the state’s educational system.
(Screenshot: Knesset TV)

On Tuesday, October 19, Sa’ar released the text of the bill, a proposed amendment to Israel’s semi-constitutional Basic Laws that would block any Knesset member indicted for a crime that includes a minimum sentence of three years and moral turpitude from being tasked by the president to form a government.

The proposed bill would also exclude such a MK from being included in a vote of confidence in a new government or becoming an alternate prime minister. The latter position was created for the previous power-sharing government between Netanyahu and Benny Gantz and carried over to the current one between Naftali Bennett and Yair Lapid.

The bill leaves some leeway — with the head of the Central Elections Committee able to waive the restriction in certain circumstances. The proposed law, if approved, would take effect after the next elections when a new Knesset is sworn in.

Currently leader of the parliamentary opposition to the Bennett-Lapid government, Netanyahu is on trial for fraud and breach of trust in three corruption cases, as well as bribery in one of them. A public servant convicted of fraud and breach of trust faces a minimum prison sentence of three years, while one convicted of bribery faces up to 10 years in prison or a fine.

Opposition Parties Cooperate on Arab Teachers Bill

The Knesset approved on Wednesday afternoon, October 20, a bill proposed by the opposition to form a parliamentary committee to review the hiring of Arab teachers in the state’s educational system, amidst high unemployment among teachers who are Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel.

The opposition managed to pass a motion by a vote of 47 to 46 in a move seen as an embarrassment to the ruling coalition. The motion calls for the establishment of a parliamentary committee to investigate the country’s placement of Arab teachers in the state’s education system. It was sponsored by the Joint List and its leaders Odeh and MK Ahmad Tibi. The vote on the bill drew support from the Likud and Ultra-Orthodox factions, with the former likely chiefly concerned with embarrassing the government.