In an interview with Channel 2 News, to be broadcast Friday night, Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon (Kulanu) declared that “if a trial against the prime minister begins, he would not be able to serve.”
In a portion of the interview that was screened by Channel 2 Thursday night, Kahlon suggested Netanyahu would draw the right conclusions himself should he be indicted: “In my opinion, he will get up and leave.”
In Thursday’s segment of the interview, Kahlon told anchor Dany Cushmaro: “There is one person and there is one law, a law that says that the attorney general decides whether an indictment would be filed. Once the proceedings are exhausted and the attorney general announces he decided to file an indictment against the prime minister – the prime minister would not be able to continue serving as prime minister while under the indictment. That was my answer three months ago as well as today, here in your studio.”
When asked about the Likud members who say they would keep Netanyahu in office even after a decision on an indictment had been announced, saying the prime minister is presumed innocent until proven guilty, Kahlon replied: “In the Likud they can say what they want, you asked me what we say in Kulanu. I don’t know about the Likud.”
Kahlon made clear that Netanyahu could not continue to function in office under an indictment, and said he believed the PM understands this and would get up and go without anyone’s coaxing. However, he added, should Net not be inclined to leave, the rest of the coalition partners are sure to demand his exit.
Meanwhile, Habayit Hayehudi Chairman Naftali Bennett has announced that his party would only quit the coalition government following a “final indictment,” at which point he said “we would fret according to the situation.” But Bennett did say that while police recommendations to indict the PM, and the prosecution’s hearings of the PM’s version of events, do not call for a decision to quit – an indictment would. Meaning Bennett’s view is close to identical to Kahlon’s but with more kabuki.