By Carrie Keller-Lynn,
Flag of Israel (photo credit: David_Peterson via pixabay)
The Knesset early [21 February] passed, in the first of three readings, a first and significant bill in the divisive effort by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s hard-right coalition to overhaul Israel’s judiciary. It did so in the face of bitter opposition criticism and after tens of thousands of anti-reform protesters gathered outside the parliament’s Jerusalem gates. The vote was 63 in favor and 47 against, with no abstentions, although some lawmakers boycotted the vote. The legislation now returns to the Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice Committee for preparation for its second and third readings, which are expected by the end of March. Paired in a back-to-back vote with a related technical bill, the legislation aims to amend the Basic Law: The Judiciary to cement government control over judicial appointments and revoke the High Court’s ability to review Basic Laws. [...] [The] bill redistributes power on the Judicial Selection Committee, ending the current balance that requires agreement between political and professional representatives and instead creating a majority for coalition and government politicians to push through all appointments. Removing two representatives from the Israel Bar Association, the legislation divides the panel’s nine seats equally between the judicial, legislative, and executive branches, but gives the coalition control of five votes of the nine, and requires only five votes for an appointment. [...] After passing their first reading, the bills advanced by the plenum are slated to return to the same Knesset committee, which will prepare them for the second and third readings, often conducted back-to-back. Those readings could in theory take place within days, but it is thought more likely that the process will take weeks.
Read the full article here: The Times of Israel
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