The tensions rattling Israel’s governing coalition are likely to worsen this week as a new bill seeking to challenge the judiciary is expected to hit the Knesset floor and may have far-reaching implications for the relations between coalition partners Likud and Blue and White.

The bill, which will be presented by Yamina Knesset member and former Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, focuses on a legislative override provision pertaining to the High Court of Justice.

Under Israeli law, a so-called “exceptions clause” can be added to any Basic Law—Israel’s quasi-constitutional legislation—allowing the Knesset to pass regular laws that essentially contradicts the benchmark legislation for a limited amount of time, usually no longer than four years. The move does, however, require a majority vote of at least 61 MKs.

Passing such an amendment to the Basic Law would allow the Knesset to reenact laws that have been struck down as unconstitutional by the High Court.

Past bills of this nature were blocked by the Kulanu Party, which merged into Likud ahead of the March elections.

This time, Blue and White has stated that they will vote against the bill, which it claims will compromise the court’s independence.

Coalition chairman Miki Zohar (Likud) said over the weekend that he plans to recommend to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that he vote in favor of Shaked’s bill.

Such a vote would breach coalition discipline, as under the unity government agreement, Likud and Blue and White are supposed to coordinate their positions on Knesset votes.

Shaked, whose party currently sits in the opposition, urged the coalition to support her bill.

“Right-wing lawmakers will have a unique opportunity this week to stop whining and take action to stop judicial piracy,” she wrote on Facebook.

“On Wednesday, the Knesset will vote on my bill to anchor the exceptions clause and regulate the relationship between the branches of government once and for all. This is the first Knesset where a majority for such a law is possible.”

Zohar told Israel Hayom he “finds it hard to believe that we [Likud MKs] would vote against this bill,” which “is in line with our ideology and what we promised our voters.”

Blue and White issued a statement saying, “We will not allow for anti-democratic legislation to pass. We promised as much to the Israeli public and that’s what we’ll do. This was also agreed upon when we entered the unity government. We intended to hold up our end of the deal and we expect our [coalition] partners to do the same.”

This article first appeared in Israel Hayom.

Support Jewish Journalism
with 2020 Vision

One of the most intriguing stories of the sudden Coronavirus crisis is the role of the internet. With individuals forced into home quarantine, most are turning further online for information, education and social interaction.

JNS's influence and readership are growing exponentially, and our positioning sets us apart. Most Jewish media are advocating increasingly biased progressive political and social agendas. JNS is providing more and more readers with a welcome alternative and an ideological home.

During this crisis, JNS continues working overtime. We are being relied upon to tell the story of this crisis as it affects Israel and the global Jewish community, and explain the extraordinary political developments taking place in parallel.

Our ability to thrive in 2020 and beyond depends on the generosity of committed readers and supporters. Monthly donations in particular go a long way in helping us sustain our operations. We greatly appreciate any contributions you can make during these challenging times. We thank you for your ongoing support and wish you blessings for good health and peace of mind.