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Netanyahu delays ‘Override Clause’ vote after consult with Supreme Court president

Israeli Supreme Court President Esther Hayut convinced Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to postpone a vote on a controversial Knesset bill that would enable legislators to override Supreme Court rulings on Knesset laws.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with Supreme Court Chief Judge Esther Hayut during a memorial service marking 22 years since the assassination of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, held at Mount Herzl cemetery in Jerusalem on Nov. 1, 2017.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with Supreme Court Chief Judge Esther Hayut during a memorial service marking 22 years since the assassination of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, held at Mount Herzl cemetery in Jerusalem on Nov. 1, 2017.

Israeli Supreme Court President Esther Hayut convinced Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to postpone a vote on a controversial Knesset bill that would enable legislators to override Supreme Court rulings on Knesset laws, saying she would not meet with him otherwise.

The prime minister had invited her to meet on Monday in advance of the vote, but Hayut told him she conditioned their talk on the postponement of the vote by at least one week.

Dubbed the “Override Clause,” the new law would alter Israel’s Basic Law on Human Dignity and Liberty, and empower the Knesset to overrule the Supreme Court and re-enact laws nullified by the court.

The new law is meant to address what supporters view as an activist and left-leaning political position taken by the court.

It is being brought by Israeli Education Minister and Jewish Home Party leader Naftali Bennett, in response to the Supreme Court’s recent decisions to deem illegal two different laws passed by Knesset to deport illegal Eritrean, Somalian and Sudanese immigrants, compromise agreements between the government and citizens living in Judea and Samaria, and plans by the Israel Defense Forces to demolish the homes of terrorists.

If passed, the Knesset will be able to reverse court rulings on Knesset laws with a 61 majority vote. Most other laws require only a majority of Knesset members voting at any given time.

Hayut is expected to tell Netanyahu that she objects to the 61 majority vote. Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit said he would support the legislation if the required voting majority was raised to 70 Knesset members, but the Ynet news site reported that the court would accept the legislation if it was raised to 80.

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