As mass anti-judicial reform protests across the country brought Israel to a standstill on Tuesday, the reasonableness bill continued its legislative advance with Knesset committee preparations for its final readings.
Opposition leader Yair Lapid opened the discussion at the Constitution, Law and Justice Committee by comparing the baseless hatred and moral degradation that contributed to the disaster of the destruction of the Jewish Temples to the judicial reform, saying that actions of extremists could lead to national disaster for the modern state as well. He warned of the impact that the passing of the reasonableness bill would have on the state of Israel's security, economy, and society.
Lapid said that he had come to appreciate during his tenure in multiple ministries as well as the premiership how all affairs of the state were connected. The passing of the reasonableness bill would negatively impact the economy, would cause diplomatic problems and put Israel into a club of ostracized states, and would weaken Israel's security standing. This would lead it unable to properly address issues like the Iranian nuclear program.
"The good thing about this law, is that this law is the beginning of the end of this government, it will lead to your downfall," said Lapid, and that if returned to office, Lapid said "We will pass a law that will fix the system and won't harm the independence of the judiciary."
Ra'am MK Mansour Abbas said that another impact of the bill would be how it impacted "the chance of Arab citizens to receive protection through the courts." Arab citizens often had to seek the court's aid against unfair and unreasonable decisions by the government, and if it was desired to advance a more equitable Israeli society, the bill could not be passed. Abbas said what was unreasonable was that the government had failed to take action against rising violent crime in the Arab sector.
Rothman said that there were a great deal of exaggerations about the bill, with claims about dictatorship and putsches. He said that there was nothing in the bill that would allow for corruption.
"I can't keep up with all the fake [news]," he said. "I can't take things out of the law, things that aren't in the law."
He said that he hoped to hear new ideas for the formula to improve it, but the current version was well received at the Knesset plenum.
"Those that want to know what's in the bill can follow the discussions in the committee," said Rothman.
Israelis go out to protest after reasonableness standard bill passes first reading
The reasonableness standard bill passed late Monday night, spawning the demonstrations that blocked major traffic arteries across the state. Yesh Atid MKs Yoav Segalovitz and Elhrarrar called for continued protests. Likud MK Moshe Saada lambasted those blocking the streets, and said that those legitimizing them were ruining the rule of law. Elharrar praised those taking to the streets as patriots, and said that the Attorney-General was protecting Israel's democracy.
Otzma Yehudit MK Yitzhak Kreuzer said that Lapid should recruit the Attorney-General into his party, as she had proved herself to be a political actor in her permissiveness toward the conduct of protesters. Rothman said that it isn't proper to submit to those demands of those lighting the country on fire.
The private bill, submitted by Rothman, would prevent high and low courts from accepting appeals or making judgements based on the reasonableness standard against the administrative decisions of elected officials. Rothman addressed criticism about how expansive the term elected officials would be, saying that they would leave room for future governments to legislate limits but also that mayors would still be subject to reasonableness with the current bill.
Deputy Attorney-General Dr. Gil Limon said that civil servants can redirect all administrative decisions to elected officials, making the distinction between the groups for reasonableness irrelevant.
The reasonableness standard is a common law doctrine that allows for the court to engage in judicial review of government administrative decisions if they are deemed extremely beyond the scope of what a reasonable and responsible authority would undertake.
Former Justice Minister Prof. Daniel Friedmann said that the reasonableness standard had become an entirely subjective tool used widely by the court.
The reasonableness standard has become so vague with an almost capricious use" said Friedmann.
Limon argued that the bill would create a legal black hole that would harm the civil service's activities and fairness to individuals. Administration heads would also be able to be fired on the whim of ministers without reason to do so, further impacting the professional environment.
Rothman said at the beginning of the session that he wouldn't tolerate interference in the proceedings. Soon into the proceedings he temporarily ejected Elharrar and multiple other Knesset members over the course of the session.