The Impairment Law passed in a vote in the Special Committee for Amendments to Basic Law: Government on Monday morning, and will be sent to the Knesset for its first reading.
After passing 9-6 in favor of advancing the bill, it is expected to be placed before the Knesset plenum later on Monday.
The Impairment Law amends a provision in the quasi-constitutional Basic Law: Government that relates to when a prime minister is deemed unfit for service.
The bill would specify the provision to apply to medical and health issues, and shift the ability to declare the prime minister unfit for duty to the Knesset and its committees, rather than the attorney-general.
Will Israel's Impairment Law be applied to Benjamin Netanyahu?
While the law was largely intended to be used in cases of medical impairment, Israeli media reports claimed in February that the Attorney-General was considering declaring Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu unfit for service over his conflict of interest between his ongoing corruption trials and the ongoing judicial reform. The Attorney-General's Office denied these reports.
The bill holds that the prime minister would not be able to be declared medically unfit if they are capable of declaring otherwise, and would notify the Knesset speaker if they do believe they’re unable to continue service.
If the prime minister is impaired, this would be officiated by a 75% government majority vote to send a notice to the Knesset plenum, followed by a 90 MK threshold vote. The bill would also allow temporary vacation of the prime minister’s seat for medical reasons, under which a temporary leader would be appointed for 100 days.
“This law will preserve democracy. It shouldn’t be allowed for any legal body to perform a governmental coup.”Ofir Katz
“This law will preserve democracy,” said Likud MK Ofir Katz, who initiated the bill. “It shouldn’t be allowed for any legal body to perform a governmental coup.”
Yesh Atid MK Orna Barbivai argued that the law would put the prime minister above the law and grant immunity for corruption. Fellow Yesh Atid MK Meir Cohen described it as a personal law.