JERUSALEM (VINnews) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Justice Minister Yariv Levin have denied reports which claimed on Monday that the Likud had agreed to a judicial reform compromise proposed by President Isaac Herzog, according to a Jerusalem Post report.Join our WhatsApp group
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A statement from the President’s Residence on Monday evening said that “in the last few weeks, the president has made a special effort to prevent a judicial crisis and present a solution that would preserve democracy and the unity of Israeli unity.”
The statement added that “as part of the efforts, the president has held talks with coalition and opposition leaders with the goal of encouraging dialogue that would lead to broad agreements.”
A report by the N12 news channel claimed that Netanyahu had already given his okay for a proposal. This proposal reportedly included renewed legislation on a softened reasonabilility standard law, no change to the Judicial Selection Committee, and freezing of all reform legislation for a year-and-a-half.
Soon after the report, both Netanyahu and Levin categorically denied the existence of such a proposal or the fact that they had agreed to it. Right-wing MKs said that they would fight any compromises which freeze the judicial reform procedures.
The announcement of renewed negotiation attempts came as the High Court of Justice is set to hold two crucial hearings related to the judicial reform this month.
On September 12, the High Court will hear petitions against the law to change the reasonableness standard which passed at the end of July. With the passing of the amendment to the Basic Law: Judiciary, the High Court can no longer strike down administrative decisions made by the prime minister, the cabinet, or a minister due to it being deemed highly unreasonable.
Petitions were filed against the amendment as soon as it was passed, and on Monday, Attorney-General Gali Baharav-Miara urged the High Court to strike it down in what would initiate a constitutional crisis, as the High Court has never struck down a basic law amendment.
The chairman of the Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice Committee, MK Simcha Rothman sought to have Chief Justice Esther Hayut disqualify herself from the panel hearing petitions against the government’s reasonability law on the basis that she is biased on the issue. Hayut gave a speech in January criticizing the proposed judicial reforms.
However Hayut rejected Rothman’s petition, that her speech was made in accordance to her role as head of the court, and “reflected my deep concern of harm to the independence of the judiciary by the plan presented by the justice minister.”
“In my speech, I referred to, among other things, the issue of the cancelation of the test of reasonableness that was included in the minister’s plans, and the challenges involved with them,” she added.
A week after the reasonability standard hearing, the High Court will once again convene, this time to hear petitions against Levin’s refusal to convene the Judicial Selection Committee.
Reforming the committee is next on the reform agenda, the coalition said after they passed the reasonableness standard amendment, and Levin has refused to convene the Judicial Selection Committee until the reform is passed.
If the committee is not convened, Israel will see 53 judicial positions waiting to be filled by the end of the year, including two High Court justices which will lead to an overload on the judicial system.