A committee in the Israeli Knesset approved, on Thursday, a key measure in the far-right government’s plan to undermine the unreasonable judiciary, in preparation for a vote on it in the second and third readings, despite the escalation of protests against this controversial plan.
The Parliamentary Justice Committee said in a statement that it approved by a majority of nine members against seven the cancellation of the reasonableness clause.
The reasonableness clause is one of the procedural tools available to the judicial system in Israel, specifically to judges, especially Supreme Court judges.
Through this provision, the Supreme Court exercises judicial control over the work of the various arms of the executive authority, represented by the Israeli government, its ministries, and its official bodies.
The bill aims to reduce the pretext of unreasonableness, to restrict the powers of the Israeli Supreme Court, as part of the government’s plan to weaken the judiciary.
Last Monday night, the Knesset plenary approved the bill, in its first reading, in a legal amendment, which is the first to be ratified by the Knesset, within the framework of the Netanyahu government’s plan to undermine the judiciary, or what is called a “judicial coup”.
Estimates had indicated that the government coalition might endorse the draft law in its mitigated or current form, in its final form, later this month.
The protests, which began in January, escalated against the government’s reform plan, which opponents see as threatening democracy.
If passed by the Knesset next week, the bill will become law.
Protest organizers confirmed that demonstrators gathered on Thursday morning outside government offices in the coastal city of Haifa, while hundreds of activists marched from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
The far-right government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sees the proposed changes as necessary to ensure a better balance of powers.
On the other hand, opponents of those reforms see that Netanyahu, who faces corruption charges, seeks to undermine the judicial system, which he says he has unfairly targeted for political reasons.