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Israel’s Supreme Court is debating a recusal law that would let Prime Minister Netanyahu oversee judicial reforms

By 08/03/2023 8:37 AMNo CommentsBy YidInfo Staff


The Basic Law amendment, which specifies that a Prime Minister minister can only be ruled ineligible to serve in a state of physical or mental incompetence, was the subject of arguments before Israel’s Supreme Court on Thursday.

The statute was designed to allow Netanyahu to lead judicial reforms and serve as prime minister while having a conflict of interest regarding the authority of the court due to his personal involvement in legal proceedings.

The petitions were presented before a three-judge panel presided over by Chief Justice Esther Hayut by the Movement for the Quality of Government (MQG) and the Yisrael Beytenu party.

Eliad Shraga, the MQG chairman’s attorney, opened the hearing by asserting that “Defendant number 2 (Prime Minister Netanyahu) decided to carry out a governmental coup in the State of Israel.

He made the decision to destroy the police, the prosecutor’s office, the judiciary, and the law enforcement system as gatekeepers. He also made the decision to destroy the institution of the Attorney General. from the Chairman of the Government Companies Authority to the Governor of the Bank of Israel, and transform us into a nation that borders on autocracy.

This is a completely private gathering, and the statements were spoken openly and on the record, Shraga continued. Netanyahu previously issued a statement shortly after the law was approved, saying that going forward, the conflict of interest policy does not apply to him.

He also started becoming involved in the Supreme Court case. At this point, Hayut interrupted, saying that Shraga had mostly concentrated on outlining a circumstance rather than making legal arguments. “Sir, do you also want to make a legal argument, or do you want to keep talking about how bad things are?”, Hayut said.

Gali Baharav-Miara, the attorney general, provided a legal opinion in which she stated that she would not defend the law since it should be annulled for the reasons stated.

According to Baharav-Miara, the law was created to enhance Prime Minister Netanyahu’s legal standing and provide him the freedom to disregard the conflict of interest agreement over judicial changes. “Our concern is a constitutional amendment fundamentally flawed in its outcome, which is the product of the abuse of the Knesset’s constituent authority in an accelerated legislative process in order to improve its situation, the Prime Minister’s personal legal rights, and allow him to continue serving as Prime Minister,” the opinion stated.

The Knesset and the Prime Minister should appear and explain why Amendment No. 12 should not be canceled owing to a misuse of the constituent authority, according to the conditional decree that could be issued.

The conditional decree should then be changed to an absolute decree; it should be ordered.

The Knesset and the Prime Minister’s representatives asked for the petitions to be dismissed and argued that the Supreme Court lacked the power to interfere with the passage of a Basic Law. The Supreme Court has not yet determined whether it has the power to interfere with fundamental laws and invalidate them.

Meanwhile, Wednesday night’s announcement that the government is considering filing a motion to exclude Chief Justice Hayut from speaking about the reasonableness criterion in a hearing scheduled for September 12 was made public.

The government’s justification for the action is a damning critique of the law that Hayut made in a public address last January.

Hayut discussed why this is a risky change in her speech and even criticized the goals of the legislation.

According to the administration, Hayut cannot fairly judge a law that she has openly and explicitly opposed.


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