Kafe Knesset for December 4
U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv - photo by Jacob Kornbluh
Embassy watch: While the PMO is still keeping its distance from the explosive Jerusalem Embassy move or recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, some of Bibi’s senior ministers are openly declaring support for the move, despite the reported strong Jordanian and Egyptian opposition. “It’s a very crucial decision and this is a historic opportunity”, Defense Minister Liberman said today. “I hope to see an American Embassy in Jerusalem next month, and I know there are reservations, but I’m sure it’s the right step in the right direction and very important for all Jewish people”. Intelligence Minister Israel Katz, who just back from the U.S., said he “welcomes the President’s intention to declare US recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel” and called on the opposition to support the move and create “a unified and strong front that will help overcome Abbas’ pressure and Hamas terror threats”. Yesh Atid’s Yair Lapid said he totally supports the move and that “the administration should have recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel 70 years ago”.
RIP, Police recommendations bill: Another week, another coalition crisis averted. As the final vote – set for today – on the bill that would bar police from recommending whether to indict or not at the end of an investigation came near, tensions in the coalition grew higher and higher. The bill was seen by its opponents as a way to save Netanyahu from an indictment, or at least from damaging leaks to the press, even though Likud MK David Amsalem, who proposed it, said Netanyahu is only one of many people who it would protect. Kulanu MK Rachel Azaria and Likud MK Bennie Begin expressed discomfort with the bill — as they walked out of the first reading last week — and more Kulanu lawmakers started saying they’d follow suit on Sunday in the upcoming vote. Then, ministers Ayelet Shaked and Naftali Bennett started murmuring against the bill, too. Netanyahu realized he was in a bind and decided not to go all the way with the bill – he wrote a Facebook post asking Amsalem to leave him out of its final draft. Now, tonight’s vote was called off, and the latest draft of the proposal says it won’t apply to investigations that are already open. The opposition says the bill still hurts the law authority and that they’re against it, but the real drama seems to be over.