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The Economist: Netanyahu V the Supreme Court: The Prime Minister Takes on the Judiciary

World  (tags: Israel, Supreme Court, muzzling, undermining independence, Netanyahu, political seats, Human Rights )

- 1479 days ago -
As the prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, puts the finishing touches to his fourth coalition after an election in March, he is preparing for an unprecedented fight to muzzle the court.


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Evelyn B (63)
Saturday May 2, 2015, 9:16 am
Netanyahu v the Supreme Court
The prime minister takes on the judiciary
May 2nd 2015

ISRAEL'S Supreme Court has long been a solid pillar of the Jewish state's democracy, holding to account governments of all political stripes. But as the prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, puts the finishing touches to his fourth coalition after an election in March, he is preparing for an unprecedented fight to muzzle the court. The outcome of the contest - between politicians and judges, and between nationalist and universal values - could tear his government apart, and determine the future character of Israeli politics.

A new coalition is likely to be agreed on in the next few days. Five of its six parties are committed to vote for new legislation that would fulfil the long-held aspiration of right-wing and religious parties to limit the Supreme Court’s power to strike down laws passed by the Knesset.

Mr Netanyahu favours an "override clause", under which the court could overturn laws only if eight or more judges vote to do so (currently a simple majority of the bench, for big cases usually 11 judges from a total of 15, is needed). Even then the Knesset would be able to push the law through with another vote. He also plans to expand the judicial appointments committee, which chooses all of Israel’s judges. By adding a minister and an additional Knesset member to the existing nine-strong committee, politicians would gain the upper hand; the legal profession currently has a majority, with three Supreme Court justices and two members of the bar association. The change could open the way for the government to pack the court.

Just how interventionist the Israeli Supreme Court has been is open to debate. Some civil-rights groups think it is too timid, especially on security-related issues. In a landmark decision in 1992, the court opposed the mass expulsion of 415 Hamas members to Lebanon; but after a 14-hour pause it allowed the government to proceed. Two weeks ago, in another decision that angered the left, the court upheld a law that allows cases to be brought against Israelis who call for any form of boycott against Israel and its settlements in the West Bank. The court, however, struck down a clause allowing compensation to be awarded without proof of damage.

But such rulings in favour of the government and security forces have not endeared the court to the right ..... (Please read the full article - which includes an excellent graphic on the historical balance of power in the Knesset))

Angelika R (143)
Saturday May 2, 2015, 12:36 pm
Apparently only HE, the PM , in his megalomaniac delusion wants to define what Israel can afford and what not, and he clearly chooses Jewish over democratic. Keep it up and see where it gets you. Muzzing the court, however, will not work with one in the Netherlands!
Thx Evelyn!

Angelika R (143)
Saturday May 2, 2015, 12:37 pm
He's not looking too happy on that great cartoon image..for a reason I''d assume.

Darren Woolsey (218)
Saturday May 2, 2015, 12:38 pm
In English terms, he's trying to play Henry VIII.

Evelyn B (63)
Saturday May 2, 2015, 12:53 pm
Angie - he's trying there, too - but with threats of cutting funding (or more precisely, persuading funders to cut funding..... the US can't help them much with this (unlike with UNESCO etc) & the rest of the world isn't as willing to dance to BN's tune ...

And I'd question "Jewish" over democratic .... except as a front label ... "Zionist" might fit closer to his real priority. He's not interested in the many Jews that don't feel totally comfortable with is policies & strategies. (And there may be more, in reaction against any success in muzzling the Supreme Court.)

Angelika R (143)
Saturday May 2, 2015, 1:36 pm
Absolutely correct Evelyn, let me rephrase quickly, of course, under the "jewish" disguise, he wants Zionism over democracy, both would be an oxymoron.

Evelyn B (63)
Saturday May 2, 2015, 2:40 pm
More than an oxymoron, Angie - a contradiction!

Lona Goudswaard (66)
Monday May 4, 2015, 12:22 pm
Netanyahu seems a little unsure of his future. From the way the Supreme Court seem to follow his lead in most cases, it hardly seems necessary to muzzle it further, but he's not taking any chances. Soon Nero's, oops sorry Netanyahu's next decree will be to throw the whole court out. It's so much better to be safe than sorry, isn't it?

Evelyn B (63)
Monday May 4, 2015, 1:33 pm
Oh Lona - LOL!

Angelika R (143)
Monday May 4, 2015, 1:47 pm
Great comment Lona! Agreed!
More bad press for the emperor today -read last press release from Breaking the Silence, I posted it.

Past Member (0)
Monday May 4, 2015, 2:54 pm
TY Evelyn, a good article. Israel always has a minority government. I love it when Canada has it, but its price is stability.


Lisa T tally (67)
Monday May 4, 2015, 3:50 pm
Enjoy learning about the world. Thanks

Angelika R (143)
Tuesday May 5, 2015, 5:19 am
LOl Ros-now you're adopting my quote -only I made it on F&S, of course regarding our beloved C2 and all their experiments... ;) those old Greeks always knew everything !
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