The High Court of Justice rejected on Thursday a petition calling on the High Court of Justice to force Attorney-General Gali Baharav-Miara to declare Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu unfit to serve in office over the proposed judicial reforms violating his conflict of interest agreement.
The petition, filed by NGO The Israeli Democracy Guard on Wednesday, was "rejected outright, due to non-exhaustion of procedures, even without requiring the respondents to respond."
The court said that the law requires the petitioner to first contact the relevant competent authority and allow them a sufficient period of time to address the issue.
According to the ruling, the NGO had sent a letter to the Attorney-General's office, but the letter hadn't been answered and the following petition was filed just eight days later.
Reasons for petition
The NGO had claimed in their petition that the judicial reforms proposed at the beginning of January by Justice Minister Yariv Levin, a member of Netanyahu's Likud party, would alter the legal system in a way that would impact the prime minister's three ongoing corruption trials. This would constitute a violation of the conflict of interest agreement negotiated by Baharav-Miara's predecessor in 2020.
While other NGOs had otherwise petitioned the Attorney-General's office to organize a new conflict of interest deal, last Thursday Baharav-Miara announced that the 2020 agreement was still in effect.
The agreement, upheld by the High Court in 2021, restricts Netanyahu from engaging in law enforcement and legal authority appointments. One of the provisions of the reform proposed by Levin would give the government significantly more control over the judge selection process, and another would restrict the ability of government legal advisers from having differing legal opinions from the government.
Israeli media had reported last Friday that Baharav-Miara's team was considering declaring Netanyahu unfit for office, but she later denied such reports. Legal experts were skeptical of the reports, saying that the legal justification for such a move would be flimsy.