JERUSALEM (VINnews) —In an interview with the Yediot Ahronoth newspaper, Knesset Speaker Amir Ohana revealed the coalition’s plan to bypass decisions of the Supreme Court if it rejects a Basic Law for the first time, as is being proposed currently in the court.
One of the proposals he plans to promote is the establishment of a constitutional court that will be made up not only of judges, which will replace the High Court. “In a constitutional court, which will be authorized to discuss the existing constitutional issues even though there is no constitution for Israel, which discusses values, worldview and ideological concepts, there is no advantage for the jurists,” Ohana said. “Public representatives from a variety of fields will also be able to sit on it. This is one of many bills that will surely be discussed if necessary.”
Ohana last week warned that the Knesset would not “submissively allow itself to be trampled” by the court and added that a decision by the court to nullify the cancellation of the reasonableness clause could “plunge us into the abyss.” However he did not offer operative steps on how the Knesset would act in the event of the court’s cancelling the law.
Ohana spoke during a press conference convened at the Knesset prior to this week’s hearing on petitions against the law as well as another upcoming hearing on another law preventing the court from forcing the prime minister to resign.
Both pieces of legislation are amendments to Basic Laws, which the Supreme Court has never voided before.
“Israel is at a crossroads, and the need to balance the branches of government is becoming clearer than ever,” said Ohana, a member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party. “Tonight, as Knesset speaker, I want to put up a stop sign.”
Ohana argued that since 1977, when Likud took power for the first time, the justice system has unilaterally been siphoning off powers from politicians to itself.
“Now, we are facing a new and dangerous juncture, which could plunge us into the abyss, with the High Court soon holding discussions on Basic Laws,” he said.
“Israel is democratic, and in a democracy, the sovereign is the people. In a democratic state, the justice system respects the sovereign, the people and its elected officials, and this respect is mutual. There is no debate, and there cannot be one, over the question of whether the Knesset has authorized the court to nullify Basic Laws,” he said, arguing that the court possesses no such power.
“This situation will lead to an unprecedented incident in a democratic country,” he said, before addressing the justices: “Recognize the limits of your power, not only those of other branches [of government]. Recognize that in a democracy, no branch is all powerful.”