Bayit Yehudi plans its revenge against the courts

“There is no constitution in Israel, and because of that, trying to say something is unconstitutional is something ridiculous.”

February 8, 2017 04:52
2 minute read.
BAYIT YEHUDI MK Naftali Bennett gives the thumbs-up sign during the vote on the settlements.

BAYIT YEHUDI MK Naftali Bennett gives the thumbs-up sign during the vote on the settlements regulation bill in the Knesset in Jerusalem Monday night.. (photo credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH 90)

The controversial settlement regulation bill that was passed into law Monday night has not been challenged yet in the High Court of Justice.

But Bayit Yehudi has already started taking steps in response to the Court’s disqualification of the bill that the entire Knesset sees as inevitable. Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit has said he would not defend the law on behalf of the government in court, and Channel 2 reported Monday night that he will even testify against it.

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Bayit Yehudi held a faction meeting Monday to plan steps that would follow up on the passage of the law. The MKs decided to push for the cabinet to adopt the findings of the Edmond Levy Report on settlements that found they are not illegal according to international law.

The MKs also decided that Bayit Yehudi leader Naftali Bennett would meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ahead of the prime minister’s meeting next Wednesday with US president Donald Trump. Bennett will push Netanyahu to insist on annexing part of Judea and Samaria when he meets with Trump.

The faction also decided on a series of steps against the court. Bayit Yehudi MK Bezalel Smotrich signed up the chairmen of every coalition faction except Kulanu on a bill that would allow the Knesset to re-legislate bills disqualified by the courts within four years.

“The Knesset represents the people, so the court shouldn’t disqualify their laws, except in extraordinary circumstances,” Bennett told Army Radio.

Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel (Bayit Yehudi) told reporters: “The legislators need to set limits for the Supreme Court.”

Faction head Shuli Moallem-Refaeli said Israel needs separation of powers. She said the Knesset should be allowed to legislate and the courts should stick to judging.

According to the coalition agreement, Kulanu holds veto power over changes in laws that would harm the legal establishment.

Smotrich said he hopes Kulanu realizes it would harm them politically if they blocked his bill.

A Kulanu spokesman declined to respond or to comment on Smotrich’s bill or other efforts of Bayit Yehudi.

Tourism Minister Yariv Levin (Likud) attacked Israel’s High Court on Tuesday saying that it is “time to remake Israel as a real democracy.”

Speaking to The Jerusalem Post, Levin dismissed Mandelblit’s prior determination that the so-called “regulations law” is illegal.

“There is no constitution in Israel, and because of that, trying to say something is unconstitutional is something ridiculous,” Levin said on the sidelines of a tourism convention in Tel Aviv. “I think it is about time to understand that in Israel there is democracy and in democracy the parliament votes over bills that become law and not the High Court or other bodies or entities.”

Levin continued by saying it is time to “remake Israel as a real democracy.”

“The Supreme Court has his job but the responsibility of legislations should be done by the parliament that represents the Israeli population,” he said.

Speaking to Army Radio on Tuesday, Levin criticized the legitimacy of a “handful of judges who are self-selected behind closed doors.”

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