Knesset summer session opens with budget deadline, judicial legislation

Coalition must pass national budget bill by end of May, intends to pass draft bill excusing ultra-Orthodox from compulsory military service and prepare bill allowing ministers to override AG opinions

Sivan Hilai|
The Knesset launches its 3-month long summer session on Sunday, after a month's hiatus with the budget bill which faces a May 29 deadline to be first on its agenda while judicial overhaul laws, which need only one more vote in the plenum, to pass, to set aside for now.
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Likud members along with lawmakers from other coalition parties have been pressuring Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu not to back down on passing the overhaul, citing the "will of the voters," and the 200,000-strong demonstration of support, last week.
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ישיבת ממשלה
ישיבת ממשלה
Yariv Levin, Benjamin Netanyahu
(Photo: EPA)
The first session of the plenum will be held on Monday with an address by visiting Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Kevin McCarthy, who arrived at the invitation of Knesset speaker Amir Ohana. This is to be McCarthy's first international trip since assuming his post and only the second time a speaker will address the Israeli parliament.
Among the legislation that is expected to face strong opposition is a bill that would steer government decision-making according to "Zionist values." and the proposed draft bill that would exempt ultra-Orthodox men from compulsory military service. Previous attempts to allow Yeshiva students to avoid the draft were struck down by the Supreme Court for inequality before the law.
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משה גפני במליאת הכנסת
משה גפני במליאת הכנסת
Ultra-rthodox legislators Moshe Gafni and Yisrael Eichler in Knesset
(Photo: Yoav Dudkevitch)
While talks will resume between coalition and opposition delegations in efforts to reach a compromise on the proposed overhaul of the judiciary, Justice Minister Yariv Levin will continue the preparation of his bill to change the law giving legal advisors, especially the attorney general – authority to block laws and policies.
The coalition seeks to allow ministers to overrule the AG and the advisors to ministries claiming they have only impeded the government's ability to rule in accordance with its policies.
Hundreds of thousands of opponents of the legislative push for the judicial overhaul demonstrated for the 17th week on Saturday in demonstrations around the country.
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הפגנה נגד המהפכה המשפטית, קפלן, תל אביב
הפגנה נגד המהפכה המשפטית, קפלן, תל אביב
Protesting judicial overhaul in Tel Aviv for 17th week on Saturday
(Photo: Reuters)
In Tel Aviv, protesters showed a video message from Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, who also serves as president of the Socialist International, supporting the protest.
"The Socialist Internationalist stands in solidarity with the people of Israel. Dear friends, you will always find us in the fight for democracy,” he said.
Foreign Minister Eli Cohen criticized the message although he did not name Sanchez directly and accused the protesters of going to any length to block the government including compromising Israel's international standing.
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