Knesset passes law to gag police in corruption probes


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel’s Knesset passed legislation that would prevent police from publicly stating at the end of an investigation of high-profile cases whether there is enough evidence to request an indictment.

The controversial legislation, called the Police Recommendations Law, passed early Thursday morning after a more than two-day filibuster, by a vote of 59 to 54.

The legislation was amended so that it will not apply to two current corruption investigations against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, after complaints that it was designed to protect him.

During a meeting earlier this month with Likud Party supporters, Netanyahu downplayed the likelihood of a police recommendation to indict in at least one of the investigations against him.

“[T]here will be recommendations, so what? Here’s a fact you probably don’t know: Over 60 percent of police recommendations are thrown out and never result in indictments,” Netanyahu said.

The opposition Yesh Atid Party and the Movement for the Quality of Government in Israel on Thursday morning filed petitions with Israel’s Supreme Court, asking the court to find the legislation counter to Israeli law.

Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit came out against the legislation, but did not say that it is in violation of the Basic Law.

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