Knesset postpones vote on controversial ‘Recommandation Bill’

JERUSALEM — The Knesset has postponed a vote on the controversial Recommendations Bill which prevents the police from publicising their recommendations on whether to issue an indictment at the conclusion of an investigation.

 The vote on a second and third reading of the bill was scheduled to take place Monday.

Finance Minister and head of the Kulanu party Moshe Kahlon had announced that he would not enforce the coalition discipline when the bill was due to be voted on later this week and allow his party’s representatives to vote as they wished.

On Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made direct reference to the bill in a post on his Facebook page he wrote “the Recommendations Bill is a good Bill. It protects human dignity.  It regulates a clear separation, which exists in a democracy, between the role of the police and that of the legal echelons. Only they are authorised to decide whether to prosecute a person. The law is intended to prevent the publication of police recommendations that leave a stain on innocent people, something that happens all too often.   Unfortunately, the Bill has been used as a political battering ram against an elected government that has made unprecedented security, economic, social and diplomatic achievements.”

Netanyahu, who is under investigation for fraud and bribery in two separate cases, said any future recommendations made by the police in his case would be meaningless as the conclusions had been “predetermined.”

“It is obvious to all that the police’s recommendations in my case lack any meaning. It seems that [the conclusions] have been predetermined from the start of the investigation, were leaked throughout it, and have not changed despite the clear facts presented time and time again that prove that there was nothing there.’’

In a move which the police say is incidental timing, Likud MK David Bitan who is co-sponsoring the Bill, was destined yesterday for 14 hours on suspicion of receiving bribes, fraud, money laundering, and breach of trust while he served as a senior official in the Rishon Letzion municipality. Last night Channel 2 News suggested he is considering resigning from the Knesset.

On Saturday night an estimated 40,000 people took part in a “March of Shame” in Tel Aviv against perceived political corruption. Protestors gathered outside ‘Independence Hall’ on Rothschild Boulevard where David Ben-Gurion declared the State of Israel in 1948. Protestors carried banners with slogans that included “there won’t be anything because we’ll make sure that the public doesn’t know anything,” and “we’re fed up with corrupt politicians”. The organisers are planning to gather momentum through social media and attract even larger crowds in the weeks ahead.