Israel moves ahead with bill removing checks on government action

Middle East Monitor  /  July 20, 2023

The Israeli Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice Committee advanced the “reasonableness bill” to the Knesset plenum last night for final readings after voting for its approval.

The Knesset said in a statement that nine members of the committee voted in favour of the law, which prevents the Supreme Court from dealing with decisions made by elected officials, while seven members opposed it.

However, the bill, which is part of the controversial judicial reform plan, must still be voted on in a second and third reading before it becomes law which, according to The Times of Israel, is expected to be approved and passed into law on Monday or Tuesday.

The vote came after a marathon session with almost 28,000 reservations lodged by opponents of the bill.

During discussions regarding the bill, members of the opposition shouted “shame” and Labour Party Member of the Knesset, Gilad Kariv, was forced out of the room after waving pictures of the International Criminal Court (ICC) and accusing the head of the Knesset Law and Justice Committee, Simcha Rothman, of neglecting Israeli soldiers.

“What is currently on the table is a bad law that violates the basic rights of Israeli citizens and may harm their security as well,” said Yisrael Beiteinu MK Yulia Malinovsky.

“It is not too late to open the text to revision because what is currently in the text completely neuters the legal system and deprives the citizens of Israel of any tools to deal with the bullying of the politicians,” the lawmaker added.

It comes after the initial reading of the reasonableness bill was approved last week, during which 64 deputies voted in favour of the law, while 56 of the 120 Knesset members opposed it.