The Israeli Parliament has approved this Thursday a law that makes it difficult to disqualify the prime minister by limiting the causes to remove him from office to a physical or mental condition.
The norm, in addition, strips the prerogative to do it to the legal adviser of the Government, a technical position of great weight.
In practice, the law will prevent the Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, from being disqualified by the current counselor, Gali Baharav-Miara, due to the potential conflict of interest involved in leading a reform to weaken the Supreme Court while he is charged in three cases for fraud, bribery and breach of trust.
The measure, approved by 61 votes in favor and 47 against in the Knesset after an early morning of debate,
Right now, one of the 14 basic laws (which work
like the Constitution that Israel lacks) allows the "incapacitation" of a prime minister, but does not detail the reasons why it is possible.
The jurisprudence of the Supreme Court limits the tool to very specific cases, which is in the hands of the Government's legal adviser, a highly influential technical position because it advises the Government, heads the Attorney General's Office, and represents the State in court and the public interest in legal matters.
The law approved this Thursday strips the legal advisor of that prerogative and limits the cases to a physical or mental circumstance that prevents the prime minister from continuing to exercise his functions.
Only the Prime Minister or his Government may do so, with the affirmative vote of 75% of the ministers.
If the recusal is ignored, Parliament could impose it by the same majority.
Protest against judicial reform at the Beit Yanai crossing, between the cities of Tel Aviv and Haifa, this Thursday. Ariel Schalit (AP)
The background is a conflict of interest agreement that Baharav-Miara's predecessor, Avijai Mandelblit, formulated in 2020, and that prohibits Netanyahu from intervening in the appointment of judges or participating in the elaboration of legislation that affects their criminal proceedings, which does not they prevented him from returning to power last December after winning the elections nor did they force him to resign until there is a final sentence.
The Supreme Court has decreed that the agreement remains binding and that the assessment of whether or not it is being violated corresponds to the legal adviser, appointed by the previous government, in which Naftali Bennett and the current head of the opposition, Yair Lapid, met alternated the post of prime minister.
That is why Baharav-Miara last month called on Netanyahu to stay out of judicial reform.
The prime minister – who accuses her of being guided by ideological reasons, and not professional ones – has ironically assured in some public act that he cannot comment on the subject due to legal prohibition, although he does so frequently.
The new law, in fact, began to take shape when rumors spread that the counselor was considering disqualifying Netanyahu and an NGO requested it from the Supreme Court.
The norm comes to light in the same week that the government coalition has announced that it will delay the bulk of the reform package at the end of April and has brought to the Knesset a softened version of the text that would allow it to impose its judges on the Supreme Court .
The opposition has received the new draft as a subterfuge and is stopping its processing with parliamentary tricks.
'Day of Paralysis'
The vote also coincides with a new day of protests.
At first, every Saturday, critics of judicial reform took to the streets by the hundreds of thousands, especially in Tel Aviv, to protest against what they see as a blow to democracy and the separation of powers.
The Executive - made up of Netanyahu's Likud and the ultra-nationalist and ultra-Orthodox parties - defines it as a necessary rebalancing before a justice system that it labels interventionist and politicized.
But with the worsening of the crisis, which has set off alarm bells in the economy (the currency, the shekel, has not been so weak against the dollar since 2019) and has led more and more Army reservists to refuse to participate in certain missions, the protest movement is also active on Thursdays.
These days, small actions aimed at altering daily life (roadblocks, escraches, etc.) and symbolic interventions in many parts of the country are more prevalent.
This morning, for example, a point on the walls of the old city of Jerusalem has appeared decorated with a national flag and the text of the Declaration of Independence.
The national flag and the text of the Declaration of Independence, placed on the walls of the old city of Jerusalem as part of the protest against judicial reform, this Thursday.
ILAN ROSENBERG (REUTERS)
This Thursday, on what the organizers dubbed the "Day of Paralysis", some 2,000 people have forced Netanyahu to cancel a speech.
They were gathered outside the Land of Israel Museum in Tel Aviv, where the prime minister was due to speak at a conference before flying to London this afternoon to meet his British counterpart, Rishi Sunak.
Other ministers have seen their speeches interrupted or had to access events through side doors.
The car of the head of Transport, Miri Regev, has been covered with stickers with the message: "A corrupt government" while she was participating in an act.
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