Editorial |

Edelstein, the Newest Target

Haaretz.
Haaretz Editorial
Haaretz Cartoon
Credit: Amos Biderman
Haaretz.
Haaretz Editorial

Likud is the most democratic party in Israel, but only as long as it has a majority. When the numbers are against them, Likud politicians will do anything they can to prevent a decision by the majority, using pressure and incitement against those who stand in their way. They will even – heaven forfend – petition the High Court of Justice.

On the eve of the third election, without a trace of shame, statesmanship or national responsibility, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asked for immunity from prosecution in the three corruption cases pending against him. Anyone who thought that Netanyahu had thus set the lowest possible bar for political behavior turned out to be mistaken.

Because while Netanyahu requested immunity, he did not intend to allow a debate and a vote on his request to take place until he had assured himself a majority. Indeed, since making the request, Netanyahu and his associates have spared no effort to prevent a debate on the immunity request, starting with a delegitimization campaign against Knesset legal adviser Eyal Yinon, which peaked with a petition to the High Court asking to invalidate his legal opinion on the matter on grounds of conflict of interest, and ending with the unprecedented and uninhibited pouncing on one of their own, Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein.

On Sunday Edelstein did what was required and ordered the Knesset to assemble so that it could approve the convening of the Knesset House Committee to debate Netanyahu’s request. Edelstein was acting against his will but without any choice, since the Knesset legal adviser was of the opinion that the outgoing Knesset was permitted to debate the immunity request before the election. “Although I disagree with the position of the Knesset legal adviser, I believe that in order to maintain trust in the institution of the Knesset speaker, it is important to accept it,” Edelstein said.

But in complying with the law, he was acting against the wishes of the boss, who wasn’t interested in having his request debated until after the election. Edelstein was merely acceding to the request of 25 lawmakers who asked that the Knesset be convened in a special recess session. But as far as Netanyahu and his Likud minions were concerned, the fact that Edelstein didn’t lie down and physically block the debate – even if it meant a confrontation with the judicial system – was a betrayal of his master.

Israelis don’t need to be reminded of how Likud deals with those it considers traitors. With one decision, Edelstein became Public Enemy No. 1, moving to the top of the Likud target bank. In a single moment the leader of the legislative branch, No. 2 in the Likud party, became a leftist collaborator and an enemy of the people.

Edelstein did the right thing by facilitating the formation of the committee that will debate Netanyahu’s immunity. The criminal culture that has spread through Likud, in the spirit of its criminal-defendant commander, must be uprooted.

The above article is Haaretz’s lead editorial, as published in the Hebrew and English newspapers in Israel.

Click the alert icon to follow topics:

Comments

SUBSCRIBERS JOIN THE CONVERSATION FASTER

Automatic approval of subscriber comments.

Subscribe today and save 40%

Already signed up? LOG IN

ICYMI

United Arab List chairman Mansour Abbas in the Knesset on Monday.

Arab Voters Will Decide if Israel's Far-right Wins Power

נתניהו עם כיפה שחורה על הראש נשען בשתי ידיו על הכותל

Israel Is Heading for Its Most 'Jewish' Election Ever

An El Al jet sits on the tarmac at John C. Munro International Airport in Hamilton, Thursday, in 2003.

El Al to Stop Flying to Toronto, Warsaw and Brussels

FILE PHOTO: A Star of David hangs from a fence outside the dormant landmark Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh's Squirrel Hill neighborhood in 2021.

American Judaism Is in Decline. That's Great News for American Jews

Crowds at Israel's Ben-Gurion International Airport, in April.

U.S. Official: West Bank Entry for Palestinian Americans Unrelated to Israeli Visa Waivers

Haaretz spoke with several people who said they had fled Ukraine, arrived in Israel,  and were asked to undergo DNA tests in order to establish paternity.

'My Jewish Grandmother Has a Number on Her Arm, Why Does Israel Greet Me This Way?'