Double Trouble for Ministers Convicted of Moral Turpitude

A bill to keep transgressors out of office for 14 years, not seven, gains traction.

Emil Salman

The Ministerial Committee for Legislation has approved a bill stipulating that a minister convicted of an offense carrying moral turpitude will be barred from office for 14 years instead of the current seven.

The bill, which now has the official backing of the governing coalition before Knesset debate, passed in a 4-3 vote on Sunday.

Ministers Yair Lapid (Yesh Atid), Tzipi Livni (Hatnuah), Limor Livnat (Likud) and Gilad Erdan (Likud) were for the bill, while Yitzhak Aharonovitch, Yair Shamir and Sofa Landver, all of Yisrael Beiteinu, were against.

The bill will not apply to an official who has already served his sentence and waited out the seven-year cooling-off period, such as MK Aryeh Deri, now the head of the Shas party.

The bill represents a change in the Basic Law on the Government, which stipulates that anyone convicted of a crime and sentenced to prison shall not be appointed a minister “until seven years have passed from the day he completed his prison term or from the day the verdict is issued, whichever is later.”

The bill had been introduced by MK Moshe Mizrahi (Labor). Mizrahi, a former head of the investigations department at the Israel Police, was dismissed following recommendations by the attorney general at the time.

The issue was the alleged improper wiretapping of Avigdor Lieberman, now foreign minister, during an investigation.