Israeli Supreme Court 311.
(photo credit: REUTERS/FILE)
The final Knesset vote on the “Grunis Bill” was postponed yet again on Monday,
following a planned filibuster attempt from the opposition.
Chairman Ze’ev Elkin (Likud), however, said the postponement is a result of his
“reconsidering” the legislation.
Knesset panel okays ‘Grunis Bill’ for 2nd and 3rd readings
The initiative, proposed by MK Ya’acov
Katz (National Union), reduces the minimum tenure for a Supreme Court or
National Labor Court president from three to two years, reversing an order from
2007 by then-justice minister Daniel Friedmann.
Opposition factions, with
the exception of National Union, registered 370 suggested amendments to the
bill, which would mean 18.5 hours of speeches.
Although MKs were unlikely
to actually discuss the legislation for that long, cutting the speeches short
would still be problematic for the coalition because of the difficulty in
predicting the exact hour of the vote. This, in turn, would make it difficult
for coalition factions to make sure that the requisite number of MKs are in the
plenum in order to pass the bills.
The second and third (final) readings
of the bill in the Knesset plenum were supposed to take place last week, but
coalition chairman Ze’ev Elkin (Likud) acquiesced to Katz’s request to postpone
the vote, as the National Union MK was abroad. This week, Elkin withdrew the
bill once again.
Coalition sources say Elkin’s actions are due to the
Elkin himself, however, said that he did not think
he would have a problem finding a majority to pass the “Grunis Bill,” and denied
that the filibuster would be problematic.
He also added that he is
“reconsidering” Katz’s bill, along with the “Bar Association Bill,” which would
regulate the Bar’s representative to the Judicial Selection Committee, both of
which passed their first readings in the Knesset. Elkin refused to elaborate on
Katz expressed confidence that the postponement will
not affect the eventual fate of the “Grunis Bill,” saying that the entire
government, as well as Supreme Court President Dorit Beinisch, supports his
“Now, everyone understands that a new wind is blowing through
the Supreme Court, which will bring back its connection to the people, and
slowly, slowly return the public’s faith in the court system,” Katz
The opposition has criticized the initiative, accusing Katz of
proposing a “personal bill,” because it would allow Supreme Court Justice Asher
Dan Grunis, an opponent of judicial activism, to replace Beinisch as court
president when she retires at age 70 in February. Politicians on the right
believe that Grunis’s views on the judiciary make him less likely to order the
dismantling of West Bank homes and to go against other decisions made by state
A Kadima spokesman said that his party, which registered
most of the complaints, is “very satisfied that this personal bill, which is
part of a package of anti-democratic bills” was postponed.
He added that
Kadima will continue to fight the Netanyahu government’s “evil attempts to
change the face of Israel for the worse.”