December 5, 2022

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Netanyahu Ally Set to Reveal Reforms for Curtailing his Trial

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On Tuesday, the Religious Zionism party is set to unveil a plan aimed at correcting the legal system.

This program has already received a lot of criticism for suggesting changes that would result in the cancellation of most of the graft trial of opposition leader, Benjamin Netanyahu.

Reforms

On Saturday, Bezalel Smotrich had given hope that up to five ministerial places would be given to his joint slate with the Otzma Yehudit party of Ben Gvir in a possible future coalition under Netanyahu.

He also mentioned the justice portfolio in this list. The Likud party of the opposition leader and its allies have already said that if they return to power in November’s elections, they would introduce legal reforms.

Reports said that the first reform planned by the far-right Religious Zionism is to abolish the criminal charge of breach of trust and fraud.

Netanyahu is facing this charge on three counts in his current trial. He has been accused of breach of trust and fraud in cases 1,000, 2,000 and 4,000, with the last case also including bribery charges.

According to the report, Religious Zionism believes that it is an ambiguous charge, which means that the cases do not have any basis.

Second part

The court system could also undergo fundamental changes under the second portion of the party’s program, which could include changing the Judicial Selection Committee’s makeup.

The legal system has been criticized by right-wing politicians for a long time, with Supreme Court being a prominent target because of its rulings and compositions.

They have called for restricting the power of judicial oversight, as they claim that overreaches its power for imposing a liberal agenda.

There are nine members that make up the Judicial Selection Committee, which include four MKs and five representatives of the Bar Association and Supreme Court judges.

According to the Religious Zionism party, the lawmakers should have a majority, which means that the MKs would have considerable power of the judges selected.

Criticism

It didn’t take long for Gideon Sa’ar, the Justice Minister, to criticize the plans immediately after they were released.

He stated that the only aim of the party was to somehow cancel the ongoing trials against Benjamin Netanyahu.

Sa’ar said that in 2019 when coalition negotiations had been ongoing, Smotrich had asked for changing the immunity law applicable to Knesset members.

He said that now he was calling for abolishing of the crime of breach of trust and fraud and they had the same purpose; canceling the trial of Benjamin Netanyahu.

Zehava Galon, a leader from Meretz, said that the program was just a judicial system’s takeover in order to accomplish a coup d’état.

On Tuesday, the Likud party also issued a statement, which appeared to be supporting Smotrich’s plan, as it said that the changes would be retroactive, so Netanyahu’s trial would not be affected.

Meanwhile, a member of the Religious Zionism party stated that it would be possible to fire any official, including the chief of staff.

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