Knesset Passes Incapacitation Law- Preventing Court Declaring Netanyahu Unfit To Lead Judicial Reform

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks with Minister of Education Yoav Kisch during a discussion and a vote in the assembly hall of the Knesset, the Israeli parliament in Jerusalem, on March 22, 2023. Photo by Yonatan Sindel/Flash90

JERUSALEM (VINnews) — After a marathon night session, the Knesset approve early Thursday morning the controversial “Incapacitation Law”, which would prevent the Attorney General from declaring that a Prime Minister is unfit for office, in its second and third readings.

The law was approved by a majority of 61 supporters against 47 opponents.

The bill stipulates that a Prime Minister can only be declared unfit for office as a result of physical or mental inability to carry out his duties, and only by the Prime Minister himself or by the vote of three-quarters of the members of the Cabinet.

Should the Prime Minister object to putting the decision to the Cabinet, it would go to the Knesset, where at least 90 MKs would have to approve the move.

The new legislation explicitly blocks the Supreme Court from ordering a prime minister to take a leave of absence, and is widely seen as a reaction to fears that the court could force Netanyahu to step down, due to the potential conflict of interest created by him overseeing his coalition’s bid to dramatically reform the judiciary while he is himself on trial for multiple corruption charges.

Netanyahu is on trial in three separate cases and faces charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust for allegedly taking expensive gifts from benefactors and attempting to arrange secret deals with media companies for more positive coverage. He denies wrongdoing.

Opposition leader Yair Lapid blasted the approval of the law and wrote on his Twitter account, “Like thieves in the night, the coalition just now passed an obscene and corrupt personal law against an unfounded rumor about incapacitation. The citizens of Israel should realize – just before the holidays, while the cost of living is skyrocketing, that once again Netanyahu only cares about himself.”

The chairman of the Yisrael Beytenu Party, MK Avigdor Liberman, announced that his party would petition the Supreme Court against the law.

“The Yisrael Beytenu faction will submit a petition to the Supreme Court to invalidate the Incapacitation Law. We will not allow the State of Israel to become a monarchy of the Netanyahu family,” Liberman wrote on his Twitter account.

Labor Party chairwoman MK Merav Michaeli tweeted, “The coalition just now passed the Incapacitation Law. A shameful and disgraceful law whose entire purpose is to prevent Netanyahu from being declared unfit for office. This is all the coalition and this government are doing, with the personal laws and the coup. They sacrifice the State of Israel in order to take care of themselves under a corrupt government. This is our second War of Independence and we must win it.”

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2 months ago

Lapid would know about being a thief in the night!