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Israeli PM Netanyahu Considers Moderating Supreme Court Bill

Netanyahu may allow reasonableness standard for individual ministerial decisions, but not full Cabinet decisions

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is looking to moderate his government’s bill to curtail the Supreme Court’s use of the reasonableness standard, according to Israeli media reports.

“Netanyahu is considering allowing the court to use reasonableness when judging individual ministerial decisions, but not decisions made by the full Cabinet,” said Channel 11. 

Wording to the effect that ministers also must act reasonably may be inserted into the text of the bill as well, the news site reported.

“The report came as the Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice Committee completed a marathon 19-hour review of thousands of objections submitted by the opposition to the proposed law,” said JNS.

The bill, an amendment to Basic Law: The Judiciary, would bar the courts from canceling government decisions based on the judicial doctrine of reasonableness.

Proponents of the bill say the standard is legally vague and has been used by the court to encroach upon the government’s authority. Opponents say the bill will erode Israel’s system of checks and balances and lead to an abuse of power.

Israelis gather to protest against Knesset vote on judicial overhaul bill at Israeli prime minister’s residence in Jerusalem on July 11, 2023. Knesset passes bill in its first reading that would curb powers of Supreme Court, The Israeli opposition staged a series of protests across Israel  against a Knesset vote on a bill to limit the court’s powers. SAID QAQ/ANADOLU AGENCY VIA GETTY IMAGES.

The bill has already passed its first reading in the Knesset plenum and is expected to come before parliament for its final readings next Monday.

 “U.S. President Joe Biden had urged Netanyahu in a telephone call on Monday to reach as broad a consensus as possible on the proposed legislation,” said anonymous U.S. and Israeli officials cited by Israeli news site Walla. Netanyahu, Who is also an author replied that opposition leaders were unable to hold serious negotiations because they feared the reaction of anti-reform protesters, according to the report.

On Tuesday, protesters held another “Day of Resistance”.” By 7 a.m., thousands had blocked major roads, including the coastal highway that connects Tel Aviv and Haifa. Route 2 was blocked at Kibbutz Ma’agan Michael, causing long traffic jams in either direction.

One person was injured and at least 37 arrested.

Produced in association with Jewish News Syndicate

Edited by Judy J. Rotich and Newsdesk Manager

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