Knesset rejects bill that would stop Netanyahu from running

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During the debate on the bill, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Opposition Leader Yair Lapid faced off against each other.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu  (photo credit: REUTERS)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

(photo credit: REUTERS)

The Knesset plenum voted 53-37 on Wednesday to reject a bill that would have prevented anyone indicted of serious crimes – including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has been indicted for fraud, bribery and breach of trust – from forming a government.

The vote was conducted by roll call vote at the request of the opposition in order to embarrass Blue and White MKs who boycotted the vote. The Likud had warned Blue and White that if they merely absent themselves instead of voting against the bill, it would violate coalition discipline and would lead to elections.

During the debate on the bill, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Opposition Leader Yair Lapid faced off against each other.

“We are witnessing another vile chapter in the unending story of those who talk about democracy while trying to destroy it,” Netanyahu said. “I am here because I was elected. A huge amount of people put their trust in me in the last election. Such bills to prevent the candidacy of one person belong in the darkest regimes, like Iran.”

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Netanyahu called Lapid “a democtator” because of the rules in his Yesh Atid party that keep him in power. After mentioning his own late father, Professor Benzion Netanyahu, in a speech in the plenum last week, this time, Netanyahu recalled Lapid’s father, the late former justice minister Yosef Tommy Lapid.

“Lapid, stop acting against democracy,” Netanyahu said. “You are a fake democrat, and your father was a real democrat.”

In response, Lapid said that Netanyahu forgot to mention that his own father had given him the advice to never touch money. He said that had he followed that advice, he would not have been indicted.

“When all you care about is not going to prison, there is nothing you are not willing to do,” Lapid said. “Instead of the coronavirus being his enemy, his enemy is the prosecution, the courts and the press.”

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