Senior Likud MK David Amsalem has called for imprisoning all those involved in putting opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu on trial for corruption, including the former attorney general and state prosecutor.
In a Sunday interview with the Kan public broadcaster, Amsalem repeatedly accused the former senior justice officials of a “coup” aimed at ousting Netanyahu, the former prime minister, from power.
Amsalem also told the radio station he backs eliminating the criminal offense of “breach of trust” — a key accusation against Netanyahu in his ongoing criminal trial.
He said the ongoing cases against Netanyahu had been rigged and “everyone” responsible “needs to sit in prison” — specifically naming former attorney general Avichai Mandelblit and former state prosecutor Shai Nitzan.
Amsalem later clarified that they should be given a fair trial, and vowed that he would seek to set up a state commission of inquiry into the matter.
He also attacked left-wing parties and Prime Minister Yair Lapid as being like “Bolsheviks and Marxists” who are trying to overturn the country by force.
Amsalem rejected suggestions that Likud would not accept the outcome of the coming November 1 elections, saying “there is no such thing.”
The Likud MK, who is fifth on the party’s electoral slate, confirmed he is seeking to become justice minister in the next government, proclaiming that he is on a quest to save the Jewish identity of the country from liberal and left-wing aspirations.
In response to his remarks, the Likud party said in a statement that “the views of MK Amsalem are his alone and are not binding. All discussion about reforms such as these or other will be done in a responsible and considerate manner.”
Responding to his proposal to eliminate the criminal charge of “breach of trust,” the party said that any such move would “not retroactively be applied to the Netanyahu case, which is collapsing before the public eye.”
Justice Minister Gideon Sa’ar of the National Unity party said Amsalem’s proposals “illustrate the depth of insanity Likud has reached.”
“If this gang, together with [Religious Zionism leaders Bezalel] Smotrich and [Itamar] Ben Gvir, wins 61 seats [in the 120-member Knesset], they will take apart the State of Israel and all of its state institutions,” said Sa’ar. “The State of Israel that we have known for 74 years will be unrecognizable.”
The Yesh Atid party said Amsalem “wants to throw judges and officials in prison, just because Bibi [Netanyahu] has gotten tangled up in crime.”
On Saturday, Amsalem spoke to Channel 12 and similarly called for an overhaul of the justice system to eliminate the charge of breach of trust.
Amsalem expressed his support for an initiative introduced by far-right lawmaker Smotrich last week, which includes completely eliminating that charge from the criminal code.
Breach of trust refers to an offense committed by a public servant, in which that individual misuses their authority and the trust placed in them by the public. It has at times been criticized for being overly vague.
Netanyahu is accused of illicit dealings with wealthy billionaires and media moguls for his personal benefit during his time in power in three cases.
He faces charges of fraud and breach of trust in all three cases and a charge of bribery in one. Netanyahu denies any wrongdoing and claims the charges were the result of a witch hunt by police, legal authorities and the media.
Amsalem has a history of inflammatory remarks. Earlier his year he drew rebuke from Supreme Court President Justice Esther Hayut after suggesting that she and her court colleagues were racist against Mizrahi Jews.