PM Netanyahu at cabinet meeting 311.
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu at the beginning of the weekly cabinet
meeting on Sunday again spoke out against bills that would limit the
power of the High Court of Justice.
RELATED:Meridor threatens to quit if High Court harmed
Netanyahu was referring to a
bill to limit so-called "public petitioners" - organizations and NGOs who file High Court of Justice petitions against decisions made by government authorities. The bill, initiated by MK Danny Danon (Likud) seeks to impose regulations to define which organizations may file High Court petitions.
"The courts in Israel are one of the cornerstones of democracy," Netanyahu explained.
prime minister also rejected the notion that High Court is a "rotten" institution and said that the courts are important and vital for
healthy democratic life. "We will safeguard the courts and we will not
allow them to be harmed," he stressed.
The Prime Minister’s
Office released statements on Saturday night noting that Netanyahu would
oppose Danon’s bill and any legislation that could harm the court.
office said he opposed the bill that would have required hearings for
High Court candidates, despite impressions that he supported it, since
he did not speak about it during the recent shiva mourning period for
his father-in-law, Shmuel Ben-Artzi.
The Ministerial Committee for Legislation was set to debate the bill on Sunday.
Attorney Dan Yakir, legal adviser for the Association of Civil Rights
in Israel (ACRI) slammed the bill as "part of the continued
delegitimization campaign against human rights organizations."
"The purpose of this bill is to damage the powers and position of the
court," Yakir said, adding that the bill was "legally unnecessary".
"Over the years, the High Court of Justice has developed extensive case
law on locus standi [the ability of a petitioner to demonstrate their
sufficient connection to and harm from a law they are challenging in
court], so it has the tools to deal with inappropriate petitions," Yakir
The Supreme Court, sitting as the High Court of Justice, has several
functions, including exercising judicial review over the various
branches of government, and is empowered by the Basic Law: The Judiciary
to "grant relief in the interests of justice." The High Court is a
court of first instance for petitions against the legality of decisions
made by state authorities, including local authorities, and can also
rule on petitions that call into question the constitutionality of laws
made by Knesset.
Deputy Prime Minister Dan Meridor vowed on Saturday night that he would quit his cabinet post if bills were passed
into law that would limit the power of the High Court of Justice.
on Channel 2’s Meet the Press program, Meridor singled out Danon’s
bill, as well as a bill that would require candidates to serve on the
High Court to face hearings in the Knesset Law Committee.
of the reasons I returned to politics was to stop the attacks on the High Court
of Justice that started in the last [Knesset] term,” Meridor said.
has been a wave of attacks aimed at making Israel different – less liberal and
more nationalist. I think we’re fighting for the spirit of our country, for its
existence, our freedom, our liberty, freedom of expression, freedom to protest,
and for human dignity.”