Sa'ar: Bill problematic
Photo: Knesset Channel
MK Avraham: Shame before world
Photo: Gil Yohanan
Education Minister Gideon Sa'ar (Likud) said Wednesday that a bill proposed by his fellow party member, giving the Knesset veto power over Supreme Court justice nominations, was "dangerous".
"MK Yariv Levin's bill is problematic and creates a clear hazard of politicizing the nomination of justices," he said.
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Ynet learned Wednesday that MKs Yariv Levin and Zeev Elkin have drafted legislation which proposes that the Knesset's Constitution, Law and Justice Committee have the authority to vet – and if need be veto – Supreme Court candidates.
According to the bill, every candidate would be subjected to a public hearing, during which he will be asked "about his legal and constitutional views, his personal contribution to legal thought, his views about law, justice and the necessary balance between various values and the separation of authorities."
Following the hearing, the Knesset's Justice Committee will rule on the candidacy. Should it veto the judge before it, he or she will not be eligible for a Supreme Court seat. Should the committee approve the candidacy, the process would be deferred to the Judicial Selection Committee for further deliberation.
But the education minister says there is no need to involve the Justice Committee. "There is room for transparency and publicity in the nomination process, and it is also legitimate to take into account the nominees' world views… but the public hearing can take place in the Knesset's Judicial Selection Committee, where representatives of the Knesset also serve," he said.
Opposition members were far more incensed. "A wave of anti-democratic legislation is threatening to drown us," said MK Dov Hanin (Hadash).
"This proposal was intended to send the Supreme Court a threatening and powerful message ahead of the hearing on the legality of the Boycott Law. I call on the democratic camp to stage a massive protest; if we don't all come together to defend democracy, there will be no democracy left to defend."
MK Ruhama Avraham (Kadima) said the move would prove an additional humiliation before the international community. "Netanyahu has succeeded in leading Israel to a new and unprecedented democratic, moral, and ethical low," she said.
MK Eitan Cabel (Labor), one of the main detractors of the Boycott Law, said, "The Knesset, fortress of Israeli democracy, is turning into democratic Israel's graveyard with the help of Netanyahu's coalition of horrors."
He went on to call Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu "democracy's undertaker" and said history would mark him down as "the leader in whose time Israel retreated to its lowest point in all of history".
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