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Israel: right wing demands push for law to override legal action against politicians

November 22, 2022 at 3:13 pm

Israeli Prime Minister-elect and Likud party leader Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem, Israel [Amir Levy/Getty Images]

Right-wing parties in Israel have demanded that Prime Minister-elect Benjamin Netanyahu should push through legislation that would enable the Knesset to override rulings against politicians by the High Court of Justice.

The so-called “override clause” is being put forward by the Religious Zionism and United Torah Judaism parties in return for joining Netanyahu’s coalition government. Many members of Netanyahu’s Likud party also support such legislation. Netanyahu, who faces charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust, could benefit from the amended law.

Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz slammed the supporters of such a clause. They are acting in the name of “corruption, not in the name of governance,” he said on Twitter.

“Netanyahu wants to carry out an attack on Israeli democracy and harm national security. We will lead a firm public struggle against the passage of this order,” Gantz added. “When you defeat the Supreme Court by a majority of 61, we will no longer be able to say that the State of Israel strives to develop the land for the benefit of all its residents, and maintains complete social and political equality in rights for all its citizens regardless of religion, race and gender, in a manner that guarantees freedom of religion, conscience and language, education and culture.”

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The head of the Israeli Bar Association, Avi Haimi, warned on Monday that if such legislation is passed, “Israel will change its face and will not be a democratic state.”

Outgoing Israeli Prime Minister, Yair Lapid also warned that such a move will undermine Israeli democracy, in favour of “personal calculations to protect Netanyahu from the grip of justice.”

Ben-Gvir is seeking a prominent spot within Netanyahu's next coalition - Cartoon [Sabaaneh/Middle East Monitor]

Ben-Gvir is seeking a prominent spot within Netanyahu’s next coalition – Cartoon [Sabaaneh/Middle East Monitor]