Integral bills to Netanyahu's judicial overhaul being pushed ahead of Knesset recess

The Morning Mails

Integral bills to Netanyahu's judicial overhaul being pushed ahead of Knesset recess

Israel's Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice Committee will convene four times this week to push for the passing of bills integral to the Netanyahu government's judicial overhaul, with the coalition set on finalizing the laws before the current Knesset session ends for recess in two weeks. The bills being pushed include a bill altering the composition of the Judicial Appointments Committee that would swing the balance of power towards politicians, as well as a law barring Israel's High Court from striking down legislation passed as a quasi-constitutional “Basic Laws.” These laws will be prepared for their second and third vote, the most advanced stages of deliberations, potentially passing them before the Knesset recess. Another bill set to be prepared for a second and third vote is the law which will abolish the ability of the attorney general to declare the prime minister unfit for office. The proposal stipulates that a prime minister can only be declared unfit for office for health reasons and without judicial review of such decisions.

If the prime minister were to refuse to hold a cabinet vote on the issue, the decision would go to the Knesset, where it would only be valid if supported by 90 of the Knesset's 120 legislators. In practice, it would prevent anyone in the justice system from declaring Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu unfit for office. Attorney General Gali Baharav-Miara has fiercely opposed the law. Her deputy, Attorney Gil Limon, described it earlier this month at a Knesset committee meeting as an “inappropriate change to the rules of the game. ” A bill that would permit public officials to accept donations for legal or medical bills is expected to be discussed on Sunday by a Knesset committee in preparation for a first vote.

This would effectively allow Netanyahu to receive public financing for his legal expenses in his ongoing corruption trials. This bill has also faced vocal objection from Baharav-Miara and Limon. Limon has said that such a law would "allow elected officials and public employees to exploit their governmental positions or public status in order to obtain a benefit, private or otherwise," contrary to the existing law that aims to preserve "morals in the public service and the exclusive loyalty of public employees." He warned that adopting this proposal will make what is now considered corruption, legal. The Knesset is also likely to hold a first vote this week on "Dery Law 2," a bill barring judicial oversight of cabinet appointments and designed to allow Shas chairman Arye Dery to return to the cabinet after the Supreme Court disqualified him over corruption charges earlier this year.

A bill promoted by lawmaker Gideon Sa'ar mandating the electronic monitoring of men who were removed from their homes due to domestic violence is scheduled to come before the Ministerial Committee for Legislation on Sunday– which determines how the governing coalition will vote on various draft laws.

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