JERUSALEM – The Israeli parliament early on Thursday approved a controversial bill aimed at preventing police from commenting on allegations against public officials and high-profile politicians.
According to a statement issued on the Knesset website, the Police Recommendations Law passed in a 59-54 vote after a 40-hour debate.
The new law dictates that, once investigations are complete and documents are handed to the prosecutor’s office, police cannot make public that they have evidence to make a formal accusation.
The opposition said the new bill had been established to protect Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is currently under investigation for offenses including bribery, fraud and breach of trust.
Chairman Yair Lapid of the opposition party Yesh Atid said: “All of these laws are undemocratic. They are distorted and cast shame on the entire State of Israel.”
Yesh Atid announced it would be filing a petition with the High Court against the legislation.
However, supporters of the bill stated that it would not apply to open cases, adding that the bill was aimed at lessening the police’s influence on politics.
Supporters of the new bill claimed that once police comments on investigations get leaked to the press, these statements cause a significant amount of damage to a suspect’s reputation.