Today, Tuesday, the Israeli Supreme Court discusses the judicial amendments that the government insists on approving in a historic case that may lead to a state crisis, if the right-wing religious leadership does not accept the decision, at a time when the opposition criticized what it called a fraudulent attempt by the government to obstruct the file.
For the first time in Israel’s history, all 15 judges will meet to discuss petitions against a recently passed amendment to the law.
The government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu approved an amendment to a basic law – at the end of last July – abolishing the ability of the Supreme Court to take action against “unreasonable” decisions by the government, ministers, or individuals.
The amendment is part of a comprehensive legislative project to “weaken the judiciary,” according to what the opposition says.
These plans have divided large sectors of Israeli society since the beginning of the year, and prompted tens of thousands of people to protest in the streets for months on end.
Politics and judiciary
Critics say the government’s law poses a threat to the separation of powers, and thus to Israel’s democracy.
Netanyahu’s government described the Supreme Court as too powerful and excessively intervening in political cases.
It is not yet clear when a decision can be expected, but deliberations may take several weeks.
Israel does not have a constitution, but it adheres to a set of basic laws. The law submitted by the government amends one of these basic laws.
In the history of Israel, no similar law has been overturned by the Supreme Court. If this happens and the government does not accept the decision, “Israel will face an existential crisis.”
For his part, opposition leader Yair Lapid said that holding talks between Netanyahu and the leader of the opposition bloc party, Benny Gantz, in order to reach a consensus on the judicial reform plan, amounted to a fraudulent attempt aimed at obstructing the Supreme Court session.
Earlier, Israeli media reported that Netanyahu had resumed indirect talks with opposition leader and former Defense Minister Gantz about a settlement regarding judicial legislation.
In response, Lapid said in a televised clip broadcast on his account on the X platform, “What we see in the past few hours is not real. “I support broad agreements, but what we see is an attempt to disrupt the most important debate in the history of the Supreme Court.”
Lapid concluded his speech by saying: The opposition will not extend its hand to fraud attempts.
Thousands of Israelis demonstrated yesterday evening, Monday, in front of the Supreme Court in support of it.
It is noteworthy that the law limiting reasonableness would prevent Israeli courts, including the Supreme Court, from applying the “reasonability standard” to decisions made by elected officials, including the prime minister.