The Knesset plenum on Wednesday rejected a bill to combat public corruption, submitted by MK Yair Lapid (Yesh Atid) and a similar bill from MK Mickey Rosenthal (Labor). 37 MKs supported the bill, 51 objected.
The proposed law stated that a person who had been convicted of a criminal offense where the court ruled the crime disgraceful, shall not be elected to the post of prime minister, minister, deputy minister, or the head of a local municipality. The bill also proposed that the term of office of a sitting Prime Minister who was convicted under such circumstances will cease on the date of the judgment, and that the Minister of the Interior will order the termination of the office of the head of a local municipality should he or she be convicted under similar circumstances.
Amusingly enough, the man who currently holds the office of Interior Minister, Aryeh Deri (Shas), was convicted of taking $155,000 in bribes while serving as Interior Minister, and was given a three-year jail sentence in 2000. The same Interior Minister is once again under police investigation for corruption.
A stunned MK Lapid responded: “This is one of the simple rules that were laid before this house. Today, a convicted person cannot serve as the minister’s chauffeur, but he could serve as the minister.”
“The citizens of Israel no longer believe that there can be a completely clean government and a government that has no corruption,” Lapid said.