The Knesset on Wednesday evening approved in a preliminary reading the “Barkat Law,” which places limits on the amount of money political candidates can use for their own campaigns.
The bill is widely seen as a “personal bill” targeting Likud MK Nir Barkat, the only billionaire in the Knesset and a potential top candidate to succeed Binyamin Netanyahu as the head of Likud. It limits candidates and their relatives from contributing more than NIS 100,000 per year for their election campaigns.
Barkat is the Knesset’s wealthiest member and the only billionaire.
In a personal blow to Barkat, the bill was approved 64-17 with the support of many of Barkat’s fellow Likud members, and in fact, the original bill was proposed by Likud MK Dudi Amsalem. Barkat does not accept a salary for his work in the Knesset, accepting only one shekel a year for record-keeping purposes.
The bill’s explanatory memorandum states that the legislation’s goal is “equality, integrity and preventing the purchase of power with money.”
Barkat responded after the vote: “They’re scared of me and their fear brings them to legislate a personal law against me. It won’t help them…I didn’t enter politics for a position or money. Nothing will stop me from continuing to serve Am Yisrael.”
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)