Two controversial bills on Supreme Court justice selection – one that would
disqualify settlers, and another that would not allow most Israeli-Arabs to be
considered for the judiciary – were declared valid for a plenum vote by Knesset
Legal Adviser Eyal Yinon on Sunday.
The Knesset presidency, which is made
up of Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin and his deputies, is allowed to prevent any
bill that denies the State of Israel as a Jewish State or is inherently racist
from being brought to a vote. The presidency asked Yinon to study the legal
standing of the two bills.RELATED:Meridor threatens to quit if High Court harmedNetanyahu: Judiciary will remain independent
The first bill, proposed by MK Ahmed Tibi
(United Arab List-Ta’al) declares that a judge may not be appointed to the
Supreme Court if he does not live “within the borders of the State of Israel, or
if he lives in a place that violates international law.”
Ben-Ari (National Union) drafted the second bill, which would only allow judges
who served in the IDF or National Service to be selected for the Supreme Court.
In addition, any current Supreme Court judges that did not do military or
civilian service may not be chosen as Supreme Court president, according to
Yinon wrote to the Knesset Presidency that neither
bill is inherently racist, in that they do not seek to disqualify potential
Supreme Court Justices based on color, religion or ethnicity.
At the same
time, Yinon emphasized that, in his opinion, the bills violate basic principles,
in that they seek to discriminate against specific population
However, because the bills do not contradict any Basic Laws, the
Knesset presidency has no reason to reject them.
Ben-Ari said that
Yinon’s recommendation proves that the demand for a Supreme Court president that
“equally carries the social burden” is not racist.
The MK specifically
mentioned Supreme Court Justice Salim Joubran, saying that if he wants to lead
the court, he must enlist in the IDF or do National Service.
Tibi, his bill is to prevent the “unimaginable situation, in which Supreme Court
justices live outside of the sovereign borders of their state.”
that settlements contradict international law, and that a “settler Supreme Court
justice” would not be able to justify his residence before the International
Court of Justice in the Hague or University of Oxford’s law faculty.
Danny Danon (Likud), a deputy Knesset speaker, slammed Tibi’s proposal, saying
that “Arab treachery must be stopped.”
“I will not allow an anti- Israel
bill that slanders the name of settlers in Judea and Samaria to pass in the
Knesset presidency vote,” he stated.
“Tibi belongs in [the Palestinian
parliament in] Ramallah.”