Attorney general opposes suit seeking PM’s recusal

Jeremy Sharon is The Times of Israel’s legal affairs and settlements reporter

Attorney General Gali Baharav-Miara has told the High Court of Justice that she opposes petitions filed against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and herself demanding she instruct the prime minister to recuse himself from office.

The petitions, filed by the Movement for Quality Government and others last month, requested the High Court issue such an order due to what they argue is Netanyahu’s conflict of interest between involvement in his government’s judicial and legal overhaul legislation and his own criminal trial on corruption charges.

Last week however, a law preventing the prime minister from being recused by anyone other than themselves or the cabinet with the Knesset’s approval, was approved in Knesset and entered into force.

Baharav-Miara tells the court in a filing on Sunday that the petitions are no longer relevant in light of the new legislation and that the court can therefore not make such an order.

On Friday, the attorney general sent a letter to Netanyahu informing him that he had broken the law by violating the conflict of interests drawn up for him under the terms of a 2020 High Court ruling which determined that he could serve as prime minister as long as he abided by a conflict of interest drawn up by then attorney general Avichai Mandelblit.

Baharav-Miara updated that conflict of interest document in February, although Netanyahu declared he was not bound by it.

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