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As Knesset Aims To Pass Judicial Reforms, Protesters Ramp Up Actions

By 02/20/2023 3:27 PMNo CommentsBy YidInfo Staff

Israel has entered another rough day of rallies and demonstrations. Several protesters attempted to obstruct their path and keep them from entering the Knesset as members of the ruling coalition left their homes to go to the Knesset and vote on new legislation.

One of the leading judicial reform advocates and the Knesset Law Committee head, Simcha Rothman, is scheduled to present some of the new laws to the committee on Monday.

These include a law allowing Aryeh Deri to serve as a minister without any legal means to remove him from office and a law preventing the court from overturning Knesset laws without unanimous consent from the entire Supreme Court.

Police detained eight persons outside their homes as irate protestors protesting the reforms obstructed Rothman’s car and those of Likud MK Tali Gotlieb and Education Minister Yoav Kisch.

Since the proposals were revealed, there have been raucous demonstrations in many Israeli cities every Saturday night due to the heated public debate over the new laws.

While advocates argue that the reforms will rebalance the relationship between courts and politicians in favor of democratically elected lawmakers, opponents contend that the changes would endanger Israel’s democracy.

Protest organizers have called for a sizable rally outside the Knesset, marches in several towns, and other events they believe would intensify resistance to the government on Monday, as the bills are expected to reach the Knesset plenum and pass the first reading.

The first reading of a bill that would give the ruling coalition control over the Judicial Appointments Committee, which chooses new Supreme Court justices, will be discussed by parliamentarians in the plenum beginning at 4 p.m.

The bill would return to committee before two more Knesset votes if approved, as is primarily anticipated.

The bill, which would change a fundamental law, contains a crucial override clause that would shield the legislation from judicial review by preventing the High Court from overturning a basic rule.

Kobi Shabtai, the police commissioner, came on television on Saturday to warn Israelis sternly to tone down their incendiary language.

“I can’t sleep at night because of our position. We’re on a slippery slope of provocative discourse, and people are writing things without thinking about how they can affect the opposing viewpoint, Shabtai told Channel 12 news. “This is a chance to remind everyone to take a deep breath, relax, talk, and avoid acting or speaking violently.”

After discussions with all parties involved, President Isaac Herzog stated on Sunday that he thought a compromise agreement on the judicial reform might be reached in the coming days.

According to all of his conversations, it is possible to reach agreements quickly using the concepts he had previously laid out.

Herzog’s attempts are primarily a mental exercise in light of the coalition’s desire for unconditional discussions and the opposition’s demand for a legislative moratorium before any negotiations.

According to Justice Minister Yariv Levin on Saturday night, the measures will inevitably be the subject of public discussion and amendments as they move through the Knesset. “What will be adopted in the Knesset will differ from what I offered,” he said.

“I provided a suggestion that I believe is appropriate for discussion. I’m prepared for our meeting tonight with Lapid and [National Unity party leader Benny Gantz]. We should probably have a conversation while sitting down, in my opinion. What kind of thing is it to impose terms on a conversation? Levin enquired.

On Saturday, Likud MK David Bitan insisted that the parties would finally reach an understanding on the matter.

It would undoubtedly result in a compromise, he said Channel 12, adding that we must carry out the negotiations.



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