The judicial reform’s Judicial Selection Committee bill was approved to be sent to the Knesset for second and third readings in the Constitution, Law and Justice Committee on Monday morning.
The bill passed 8-7. Missing from the coalition vote tally was Likud MK Tally Gotliv, who previously objected to the newest version of the bill as a capitulation to the opposition.
Opposition members made final appeals to the coalition to stop the legislation, even citing reports rumoring that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was set to announce the freezing of the reform legislation.
During the votes, opposition members chanted “shame.” Labor MK Gilad Kariv was dragged out of the committee room. When Kariv returned to the room, as a revision vote was held, he unfurled an Israeli flag and shouted that the flag could not be stopped. Knesset members interrupted the reading of the bill by committee legal advisor Dr. Gur Bligh multiple times, leading to other opposition members being removed from the chamber.
Critics of the reform reflected on the events of the night before, the firing of Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and the tens of thousands of protesters that had taken to the street in response.
Yesh Atid MK Yoav Segalovich said that Gallant tried to act against the danger that Netanyahu created.
Yeah Atid MK Karine Elharrar asked rhetorically “Why was he fired? Because he told the truth?”
Opposition members appeal to Rothman
Opposition members addressed Law Committee chairman Simcha Rothman directly to stop the legislation, and to pass the reform instead through a slower and cooperative process.
Labor MK Gilad Kaariv said that he had lost faith in Rothman’s ability to listen to him, instead addressing the thousands of demonstrators and other members of coalition.
“It’s on you to stop this train,” Karin said to the coalition members.
Yesh Atid MK Meir Cohen warned the judicial reform was “is tearing apart the country.”
The Judicial Selection Committee bill amends the Basic Law: Judiciary to change the composition and procedures of the panel.
The current panel has nine members, consisting of the High Court of Justice President, two other justices, the justice minister, another minister, two MKs and two Bar Association representatives.
If the bill passed, the committee would be changed to have eleven members, being the High Court of Justice President, two other justices, the justice minister, two other ministers, two opposition MKs, two coalition MKs and the Law Committee chairman. When appointing lower court candidates, the justices would be replaced by magistrate and district court presidents.
In the current system, about 80% of members are needed to approve a High Court of Justice candidate, and a simple majority for lower courts.
In the proposed system, a simple majority would vote would be needed for a High Court candidate, and seven panelists in agreement for a lower court candidate. Once two High Court candidates were appointed in one term, an opposition member's vote would be needed to advance a third candidate. A fourth candidate in the same term would require a judicial representative's support.