The Ministerial Committee on Legislation will vote at its Sunday meeting on a law to block the attorney-general’s ability to announce that a prime minister is “incapacitated” from fulfilling his role, as well as on a law to introduce the death penalty for terrorists, according to the committee’s agenda that was published on Thursday.
According to the bill, which coalition whip and Likud MK Ofir Katz proposed along with faction leaders of all of the coalition parties on Sunday, the only bodies that are allowed to make such a declaration are the prime minister himself or at least three-quarters of the government’s ministers. If the prime minister does not agree with the government’s decision, the Knesset can remove him with a three-quarter majority of 90 MKs.
The bill is the coalition’s response to the High Court of Justice’s decision to hear an appeal by the Movement of Quality Government in Israel, over whether Attorney-General Gali Baharav-Miara should declare Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu incapable of serving in the position, due to conflicts of interest between the judicial reforms and his criminal trials.
The new bill would remove the attorney general's authority to make such a declaration, and therefore make the appeal irrelevant.
"An [incapacitation] declaration made against the prime minister's will, when he is physically and mentally capable of fulfilling his role, means removing a sitting leader who was chosen by the people's representatives and received the Knesset's confidence. In other words, declaring a prime minister incapacitated is in reality an act of cancelling the outcome of an election and the democratic process," according to the bill's explanatory section.
Death penalty bill
Another bill that ministers will likely approve on Sunday is the death penalty for terrorists, proposed by Otzma Yehudit MK Limor Son Har-Melech. According to the bill, someone who “intentionally or out of indifference causes the death of an Israeli citizen, when the act is carried out from a racist motive or hate to a certain public… and with the purpose of harming the State of Israel and the rebirth of the Jewish people in its homeland,” faces a death sentence, and this sentence alone.
In addition, if such a crime is committed in the West Bank, this punishment will apply in military courts even if the ruling is not unanimous – and the punishment may not be lightened after it is finalized in a regional court.
"The purpose of this law is to cut off terror at its source, and create heavy deterrence. No more [will there be] 'all inclusive' jails. No more letting terrorists go free after half of their jail time," according to the laws explanatory section.
The law does not specify what method would be used to carry out capital punishment. In addition, due to the provision that requires that the crime be committed "with the purpose of harming the State of Israel and the rebirth of the Jewish people in its homeland," it likely would not apply to Jewish terrorists who murder Palestinians.
The bill is a campaign promise by Otzma Yehudit and its chairman, National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir. Members of Yisrael Beytenu, a party currently in the opposition, have supported such a bill in the past as well.