As the reasonableness bill is set to be expedited this week, protesters turned out in force on Saturday night and vowed to wage major anti-judicial reform demonstrations from Tuesday.
The bill restricting the use of the reasonableness standard in court judgments against the prime minister and ministers will be discussed in the Constitution, Law and Justice Committee on Sunday.
The updated version of the bill will be distributed after the meeting, and Law Committee members will be able to submit reservations on the text until Monday morning.
Reservations are proposals for changes in the text. If rejected by the committee, sponsors of amendments can request that the reservation be attached to the bill to be explained and voted on before the Knesset plenum.
Law Committee chairman MK Simcha Rothman informed the committee members of the schedule after a session on Thursday, in which he said many politicians, NGOs and experts were heard. On Sunday Rothman said that MKs who had not yet expressed themselves would be given priority to speak.
“The debate was long, exhaustive and well refined the points of disagreement and agreement regarding the law,” Rothman said of the Thursday session. “Before distribution of the text for reservations, in the debate, Knesset members will be able to summarize their opinion regarding the law.”
The reasonableness standard is a common law doctrine used by courts to strike down government administrative decisions that are deemed far beyond what a responsible and reasonable authority would decide.
The Law Committee scheduled sessions on the reasonableness bill from Sunday until Wednesday, but it did not say when voting will occur.
Protest groups also geared up for a week of demonstrations and campaigns against the bill on Saturday night.
While a “National Day of Resistance” was originally set for Monday, it was announced on Saturday that the day would be held instead on Tuesday. Protest leaders said it would herald the start of an “unprecedented week of civil resistance and disobedience to the judicial overhaul.”
“Continuous and determined resistance actions and protest events will take place throughout the week, as necessary, until the legislation date the following week,” protest leaders said in a press statement.
Demonstrations continued Saturday night, at an estimated 150 points of protest across the country, it was claimed. As with previous protests, the post-Shabbat demonstrations featured the closure of junctions and roads.
Despite a health scare for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Saturday in which he was hospitalized for dehydration, demonstrations were held at the Prime Minister’s residence and his private home.
The Movement for Quality Government in Israel wished Netanyahu a speedy recovery, but said that the next two weeks were crucial for the health of Israeli democracy as well.
Opposition leader Yair Lapid spoke at an event at Hod Hasharon on Saturday night, saying that the reasonableness standard was needed to combat corruption, prevent the ministerial appointments of Shas Chairman Arye Deri, and limit the actions of National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir. Lapid jabbed at Netanyahu for being in the midst of a trial for three corruption cases, which also demonstrated the necessity of a reasonableness standard.
“The State of Israel needs the reasonableness standard more than ever, because we are in an unreasonable situation. Ben-Gvir, [Finance Minister Bezalel] Smotrich, Rothman and [Justice Minister Yair] Levin are trying to carry out a hostile takeover of Israeliness,” said Lapid. “We are the Israeli majority, we are not here just to pay taxes and send our children to the army, they will not silence us.”
'Fighting to save the country'
Lapid praised the commitment of protesting pilots and reservists who were “fighting to save the country,” in the streets.
On Friday, 500 reservists held a Kabbalat Shabbat service outside the home of Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, calling upon him to take a stand against the government.
“The people’s army has come to you to make a last call before its destruction: Do not lend a hand to the destruction of the state. It’s time to test your leadership!” said the Brothers in Arms protesters.
The protest of reservists who refuse to answer summons for military training and service have continued to spread since the resumption of legislation in June.
Tensions have also continued to rise with the progress of the legislation and protests. Police said that two suspects were arrested Saturday after allegedly threatening and then attacking a protester at a Bat Yam demonstration. On Friday, a protester was arrested in Tel Aviv for allegedly obstructing and assaulting a police officer.