Bill allowing ministers to choose their own legal watchdogs progresses

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November 8, 2017 20:25

The Israeli bill’s opponents say it will get rid of checks and balances on the ministers.

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MK Amir Ohana

MK Amir Ohana. (photo credit:MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)

Legislation that would turn the position of legal adviser to government ministers into a political appointment passed a preliminary reading in the Knesset on Wednesday.

The measure’s proponents, including Likud MK Amir Ohana, who drafted it, say it will allow for better governance, because ministers will have fewer obstacles to implementing their policies. The bill’s opponents say it will get rid of checks and balances on the ministers.

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Ohana said that bureaucrats tried to pressure him and sabotage the bill.

“This a bill that cancels the ‘super-ministers,’ the legal advisers to the ministries who can, if they want, sabotage, torpedo and prevent the minister from reaching his goals, and use the excuse of rule of law,” he said, presenting his bill to the Knesset. “In this kingdom, the legal advisers are the rulers, who do as they see fit.”

Ohana said that in most cases, different legal experts have different opinions on policies, and it’s not an obvious case about what is illegal or not.

Zionist Union MK Nachman Shai came out against the bill, saying that the government is trying to destroy the legal system and democracy.

“It started with the Supreme Court, and now it’s anything with the word “legal” connected to it,” he said. “Now they’re going against legal advisers, because they do not totally fulfill the ministers’ will. Maybe they’re [the advisers] thinking of the good of the public and legal limitations [on ministers’ actions]? Are those irrelevant?”


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