Bennett vows to rein in Supreme Court, deport migrants

“The problems in south Tel Aviv are only increasing,” Bennett said during a visit to the area on Thursday. “Whoever thought the battle for the override clause is over should think again."

May 24, 2018 16:30
3 minute read.
Bennett vows to rein in Supreme Court, deport migrants

Naftali Bennett (L) with anti-migrant activist Sheffi Paz (R). (photo credit: MICHAEL DIMENSTEIN)


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Bayit Yehudi chairman Naftali Bennett vowed to pass a law allowing the Knesset to reverse Supreme Court rulings that strike down laws.

“The problems in south Tel Aviv are only increasing,” Bennett said during a visit to the area on Thursday. “Whoever thought the battle for the override clause is over should think again. We won’t give up until the problem is over.”

The override clause is legislation submitted by Bayit Yehudi to allow the Knesset to re-pass laws that the Supreme Court cancels. Similar proposals have come up periodically, but the most recent push came as a result of the Supreme Court reversing a government policy to deport African migrants, many of whom live in Tel Aviv’s lowest-income neighborhoods.
Israel abandons plan to forcibly deport African migrants, April 24, 2018 (Reuters)

Earlier this month, Bennett and Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked forced the Supreme Court override bill to a vote in the Ministerial Committee for Legislation, where it was approved. However, it has been stuck for over two weeks, because Kulanu leader Moshe Kahlon will not allow his faction to vote for the bill until there is a new draft that he approves. Many Kulanu MKs oppose the bill out of concern that it weakens judicial oversight.

“Time is passing and there’s an effort to make this go away,” Bennett warned, “but in reality, the suffering of south Tel Aviv residents is as it was. I came here today to strengthen the residents and send a clear message: The struggle is not over.

“A few weeks ago, the prime minister said he is taking the override bill upon himself. We moved over, we gave him time, but in the meantime, nothing has happened,” he said.

Therefore, Bennett said, he plans to bring the issue up at Sunday’s coalition leaders meeting.

The education minister argued that the override bill will strengthen governance and increase the public’s trust in the judiciary.

During his visit, Bennett met with south Tel Aviv residents and anti-migrant activists and visited schools in the area.

“This is a state within a state. The government can’t avoid taking care of the problem by burying its head in the sand. We will not give up. We have a moral obligation and a public responsibility and we are going to solve this problem,” Bennett vowed.

Chaim Goren, the head of the Bayit Yehudi branch in Tel Aviv and a south Tel Aviv activist, told Bennett, “The education in south Tel Aviv was severely harmed because of a concentration of foreigners.”

Controversial anti-migrant activist Sheffi Paz said the police are powerless in the neighborhoods because of constantly-changing decisions about the policy towards migrants as a result of repeated court rulings against the government’s policies.

A poll taken by the Israel Democracy Institute last month found that 53% of the public opposes the override bill. Some 65% agreed with the statement, "If the Supreme Court will lose the power to cancel laws legislated by the Knesset, the political side will have too much power."

In addition, 58% of Israelis thought the override bill would increase political corruption.

IDI President Yonahan Plesner said, "In the Israeli democratic system, the central government is not limited by a constitution, decentralization of federal powers or multiple legislatures. In our system, the High Court of Justice is the only limit before unlimited power for politicians, and therefore, judicial oversight is necessary."

Instead, Plesner suggested passing a law to regulated judiciary-legislature relations, in which a law could only be canceled if two-thirds of the Supreme Court justices agree to do so.

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