Irregular Knesset Session Planned for Sunday to Move Forward with Overhaul3 min read
On Sunday, the hard-right coalition of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is expected to call a special plenum session to continue with their efforts of overhauling the justice system in Israel.
This indicates that the government plans to move full steam ahead with the legislation despite calls for dialogue on the controversial proposals.
Typically, the plenum does not convene on Sundays, which would make this an irregular occurrence. Amir Ohana, the Knesset speaker, who hails from the Likud party, will hold a special session on Sunday.
They do not wish to wait until parliament because Monday evening marks the beginning of the Purim festival.
The Jewish festival is celebrated with fancy dress, parades and a bit of drunken revelry. It is celebrated a day later in ancient cities, including Jerusalem, which means that it will not wrap up fully until Wednesday.
Hence, the meeting has been planned for Sunday where lawmakers could vote on delaying the deadline of March 15th for selecting the Judicial Selection Committee’s Knesset representatives.
The job of the committee is to appoint judges. It remains unclear as to why the vote cannot be conducted on any day in the next week before the deadline.
The judicial panel’s restructuring is a key element in the government’s aim of shifting authorities to politicians from courts.
It would provide the government with the authority of selecting judges. Last week, the bill in question had cleared its first reading, which would end the existing balance.
Currently, professional and political representatives are required to agree, but the bill is designed for redistributing the Judicial Selection Committee’s power.
Instead, government politicians and the coalition would be able to make all the appointments via a majority.
Sunday’s planned Knesset plenum session was denounced by a former justice minister and opposition MK Gideon Sa’ar of the National Unity party.
Sa’ar said that the reason behind holding the session was to move forward with the plan of taking over the courts and preventing the vote on selection of Judicial Selection Committee’s representatives from the Knesset.
Therefore, he said that anti-government protests should be ramped up. A number of other controversial proposals are on the agenda of the coalition for the next week.
This includes a bill for shielding legislation from judicial review, which is another key element of the planned judicial overhaul.
A bill sponsored by the Likud party is also slated for deliberation on Sunday, which would enable public servants to receive donations more freely.
It appears that the proposal is designed to allow Benjamin Netanyahu to keep funds worth $270,000, which he has been ordered to return by the High Court of Justice.
The funds have been deemed an illicit gift and the funds should have been returned by the premier in February.
Reports on Thursday indicated that the measure would see opposition from Gali Baharav-Miara, the Attorney General.
An anti-corruption watchdog group has also denounced the proposal, as they have asserted that it will open the door for corruption.