According to Israeli law, members of Knesset enjoy legal immunity from prosecution. Unfortunately, over the years there have been cases of MKs engaging in criminal acts: this is a fact, regrettable as it may be. In order to enable MKs to be tried, a Knesset committee must first hear some of the evidence and revoke the immunity of the MK on that specific matter (or, rarely, not revoke it. That has also happened). This morning there was a discussion in the relevant committee on a proposal to revoke the immunity of some Arab MKs who recently visited Libya.
The proposal was authored by Dr. Michael ben Ari, the most extreme right-wing MK of the present Knesset, who is in the opposition. He didn't garner the votes he needed, but some of the MKs felt they'd like to use the subject for a spot of additional grandstanding before quashing it, so they delayed the vote until next week. Interestingly, Rubi Rivlin, the Speaker of the House, took the highly unusual step of participating in the discussion, because he felt strongly about it: against, obviously:
The Knesset speaker said, "Limiting the freedom of expression and narrowing the Knesset members' steps is a dangerous, slippery slope, which will end in tyranny and the nullification of the minority." Rivlin added that revoking the MKs immunity could serve as a double-edged sword and equally harm the other end of the political spectrum. "Today, it is the Arab minority, and tomorrow it will be another minority. Such things have happened in the past.Rivlin, as all of us know, is from the right wing of Likud. He's not a lefty, nor even a centrist. He's staunchly and proudly right-wing. Which of course doesn't preclude his taking a clear position in favor of freedom of speech, be it of people of his persuasion or a very different persuasion.
Which is the way it should be, and also just what you'd expect.