Israeli Lawmakers to Vote on Bill Curbing High Court's Power in Next Knesset Session

Reports say Netanyahu is no longer insisting on the so-called British model that would prevent the High Court from overturning legislation

Supreme Court President Esther Hayut, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Reuven Rivlin on November 11, 2017.
מארק ישראל סלם

The coalition party heads, with the exception of Kulanu chairman Moshe Kahlon, decided Monday that the bill designed to curb the High Court’s power will be brought to a vote during the Knesset’s next parliamentary session, which starts on April 29. On Sunday, another meeting on the matter will be held after Kahlon returns from a trip abroad.

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“We are working to ensure balance between the legislature and the judiciary,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the party leaders. “”This is a very serious matter and we will continue to discuss it in the coming weeks.”

The party leaders agreed that Netanyahu will soon meet with Supreme Court President Esther Hayut to discuss the matter.

It’s unknown just what the bill that the coalition party leaders wish to advance will contain, but it was reported Monday that the prime minister, who initially refused to compromise on the issue, is no longer insisting on the so-called British model that would prevent the High Court from overturning legislation. Finance Minister Kahlon has expressed readiness to discuss the matter, now that the attorney general has proposed an outline whereby if the High Court annuls a law, the Knesset could reenact the legislation with a majority of 70 MKs.

Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked said this morning on Army Radio that she opposes Mandelblit’s proposal. “We won’t agree to it since it will be impossible to muster 70 MKs to re-legislate a law that was overturned. It should be a majority of 61.”

Interviewed by Ynet this morning about the coalition crisis over the bill, MK Roy Folkman, head of the Kulanu party’s Knesset faction, said his party opposes the British model that would deny the High Court the ability to overturn legislation. “I am certain the prime minister understands that the outline that Bennett and Levin sought to promote would completely negate judicial oversight,” Folkman said, calling the coalition crisis “political spin.”