Moving Forward: Two Parts of Judicial Reform Pass First Reading

The Knesset passed the first two pieces of legislation relating to the government’s judicial reform plan. This followed a noisy six-hour-plus debate that ended after midnight Tuesday. Both bills passed by a vote of 63 to 47. This is the first of three readings.

The first bill amends Basic Law: The Judiciary so that the Supreme Court can’t invalidate basic laws, which are considered to have quasi-constitutional status in Israel. The second bill changes the composition of the Judicial Selection Committee to give elected officials a majority in choosing judges both for the Supreme Court and lower courts.

MK Simcha Rothman stated: “The Supreme Court is the one that harmed judicial authority. Only those who ‘have the right stuff,’ only those who ‘are part of the family’ are eligible to become a judge in the Supreme Court.”

Throughout the evening, opposition and coalition MKs traded barbs as they mounted the Knesset podium. To date, the opposing side has not come forward with their list of suggested reforms. Opposition leaders have refused to answer President Isaac Herzog’s request that the two sides come together to work out their differences. What is their answer to combat the 28 year abuses of judicial power? Silence so far.

Judicial reform advances in Knesset after heated debate, by Mati Tuchfeld and JNS/Israel Hayom, February 21, 2023

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