Coalition Whip: If Netanyahu Forced Out of Office Over Corruption, Government Will Collapse

Likud lawmaker Miki Zohar says his party would make 'the necessary changes' to oust of officials 'who crossed the line,' after report says Attorney General Mendelblit weighs disqualifying the prime minister

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Miki Zohar in the Knesset in Jerusalem, July 2020.
Miki Zohar in the Knesset in Jerusalem, July 2020.Credit: Adina Valman / Knesset Spokesperson

Coalition whip Miki Zohar said Thursday morning that if Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit decided to declare Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu incapable of carrying out his duties, it would lead to the collapse of the government and new election.

If this occurs, Likud's Zohar told Kan Bet public radio, his Likud party would act after the election to make “the necessary changes." He explained: “I’m talking about replacing some of the officials who already crossed all the lines a long time ago.”

On Wednesday, Haaretz reported that Mendelblit has held consultations on whether Netanyahu should be disqualified from serving as prime minister. This is due to what Mendeblit sees as the premier's use of the office for his personal benefit as a defendant in three corruption cases.

This represents a "fundamental incapacity," Mendelblit believes, and he is of the opinion that Netanyahu's conduct raises questions of a conflict of interest regarding his serving as both the prime minister and a criminal defendant.

In his interview, Zohar warned anyone “who tries to raise their hand against Israeli democracy” and “thinks they have the ability to decide for citizens who the prime minister will be here, and invents legal theories,” in response to the report.

Other Likud Knesset members expressed outrage to the Haaretz report Wednesday. Uzi Dayan told a meeting of Likud Knesset members that they must demand that Mendelblit “finish his tenure.” If the government falls over the issue of Netanyahu’s declared incapacitation, "then we'll go to elections," said Dayan.

Fellow Likud lawmkaer Shlomo Karhi said that “if Mendelblit dares to decide such an illegal and scandalous thing, the demonstrations on Balfour Street will look like nothing compare to what will happen here," referring to the weekly anti-Netanyahu protests outside the prime minister's residence. "We will not leave any remembrance of the party of Salah al-Din [the street where the Justice Ministry is located]. We will dismantle and reassemble it. I am the driver of the D9 [bulldozer].”

Another Likud MK, Osnat Mark, said that Mendelblit "has crossed all the lines. He feels the noose tightening and is using his power as a means of political extortion.”

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