Israel's Finance Minister: We Won’t Join a Netanyahu-led Coalition if He’s Indicted

Moshe Kahlon said his party won’t accept any conditions set by the prime minister about the investigation, reiterating that the prime minister cannot continue to serve if he stands trial

Jonathan Lis
Jonathan Lis
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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon, October 9, 2018.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon, October 9, 2018.Credit: Emil Salman
Jonathan Lis
Jonathan Lis

Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon, head of the Kulanu party, said on Tuesday that his party wouldn’t remain in the coalition led by Benjamin Netanyahu if the prime minister is indicted.

Responding to a televised report that lawmakers would be permitted to ask that their immunity from prosecution not be lifted, Kahlon said his party wouldn’t agree to any Netanyahu dictates on the issue, and would make that their condition for joining the next government.

“A prime minister who’s been indicted, after a hearing, cannot function,” Kahlon said. “No [party leader] would accept this.”

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“The moment that the attorney general sets a recommendation for an indictment, the prime minister cannot function,” he said, adding that his party, Kulanu, wouldn’t remain in the government in such a case. Kahlon had issued a similar statement in March.

In response to claims by Likud members that Netanyahu is innocent unless proven otherwise and that he could serve even if he’s on trial, Kahlon replied:

“The Likud can say whatever it wants. If the prime minister is put on trial he cannot serve, he doesn’t need me [to determine] that. In my opinion he would get up and leave on his own, or the other parties would go.”

Coalition whip David Amsalem said earlier on Tuesday that if Netanyahu is indicted he would vote for a law to permit lawmakers to submit a request to keep their immunity if they faced indictment if they were "not indicted in good faith."

“This law is not important. A coup in Israel is much worse than using a technical tool,” Amsalem said.

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