In his response to the High Court of Justice, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who also serves as Minister of Health, Welfare & Social Services, Agriculture and Diaspora Affairs, told the court he will step down from those cabinet posts no later than January 1, 2020.
Three weeks after the announcement of criminal indictments against him, PM Netanyahu told the High Court of Justice of his intention to step down from all cabinet posts by January 1, 2020.
This means he will no longer serve in the posts mentioned above, which he will have to distribute among others. Mr. Netanyahu does not plan to step down from his post as prime minister, however.
The High Court is hearing a petition from the Movement for Quality Government (MQG) contesting the fact that he holds numerous ministerial posts. The prime minister’s attorney explained that while he is not required to do this, he has decided nonetheless to stop serving in the other cabinet posts by the beginning of the new Gregorian year. Mr. Netanyahu’s defense attorney added that he is only required to step down from cabinet posts if he is convicted, including of a moral turpitude clause, and this does not apply now. The attorney explained that in essence, this is not a matter for the High Court’s intervention at all.
Netanyahu’s attorney added, “Public confidence in the judicial system requires that the legislature’s explicit determination in the Basic Law is one that will determine the binding threshold. Judicial intervention in this matter is not proper and will not seriously affect the principle of separation of powers, Israeli democracy, and the Knesset’s authority to regulate the issue in an explicit Basic Law.”
The MQG responded, stating “We regret that the prime minister knowingly chose to violate the law for many weeks and announced the resignation only following the petition to the High Court that the movement filed. We call on the court to order the prime minister to resign immediately from all office, including prime minister.
“Netanyahu must continue fighting to prove his innocence as a private individual and not from within the Prime Minister’s Office. Woe to us if the prime minister drags the entire nation together with him to the bench of the accused”.
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)