G. McConway
January 2, 2024

Israel Supreme Court Rejects Rule Limiting Its Power

Israel may be in a bit of a state of crisis after its Supreme Court rejected a law that was passed by the Israeli Parliament and signed into law by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Netanyahu has criticized the court for overreaching its authority, and he obviously supported the legislation to dial back the court’s powers.

When the court struck the legislation down, it raised speculation that Israel could be facing a constitutional crisis.

Strike It Down

For the first time in the country’s history, the Israeli Supreme Court had a full panel of justices (15).

The law passed by Parliament and signed by Netanyahu was struck down by a vote of 8-7.

If the court did not strike the law down, the law would have negated the court’s ability to overrule decisions made by government ministers.

In the majority ruling, Chief Justice Esther Hayut wrote, “Given the fragile, lacking system of checks and balances that exists in Israel, the total cancellation of judicial review on the reasonableness of government and ministerial decisions renders meaningless a substantial part of the role of the court in defending the individual and the public interest.”

Netanyahu has argued the legal concept of “reasonableness” is subjective. He also stated that the ruling is “in opposition to the nation’s desire for unity, especially in a time of war.”

He was particularly agitated that the court made such a ruling when his soldiers were “fighting and endangering themselves in battle.”

The opposition, of course, celebrated the ruling. The Kaplan Force stated, “Today, one chapter ended in the battle to protect democracy — in a victory for the citizens of Israel.”

To Netanyahu’s point, had the court waited to rule on the issue, the decision would have likely been the complete opposite, with two of the justices retiring, including Chief Justice Esther Hayut.


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