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Photo: Reuters, Alex Kolomoisky
Netanyahu and Gabbay
Photo: Reuters, Alex Kolomoisky
Gabbay: Netanyahu trying to turn Israeli democracy into Turkey
Zionist Union leader Avi Gabbay warns of the erosion of Israeli democracy, saying 'the override power is just one example of things this government uses to take our freedoms from us, it wants to create a tyranny of the majority.'
Zionist Union leader Avi Gabbay warned Sunday that passing legislation that would give the Knesset override power over the High Court of Justice would seriously harm Israeli democracy, saying Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is trying "to turn us into a democracy like Turkey."

 

 

"The only thing Netanyahu is busy doing is perpetuating his rule," Gabbay told Ynet in an interview. "He wants to get reelected, which is legitimate. But the question is how much he is willing to change his country to make that happen. He's willing to do everything for it to happen."

 

The override power initiative, also known as a notwithstanding clause, became a top priority for nationalist lawmakers following uncertainty over the fate of illegal African migrants in the aftermath of a series of failed deals for their deportation.

 

Prime Minister Netanyahu; Zionist Union leader Gabbay (Photos: Reuters, Alex Kolomoisky)
Prime Minister Netanyahu; Zionist Union leader Gabbay (Photos: Reuters, Alex Kolomoisky)
 

Initially floated as a possible remedy for the crisis, the power is intended to limit the High Court of Justice's ability to strike down Knesset laws by passing them again with a preordained significant majority of MKs.

 

Bayit Yehudi will bring the bill proposal calling for a 61 MK majority to a vote at the Ministerial Committee for Legislation on Sunday, despite attempts by Netanyahu to postpone the vote.

 

"The right way to pass the override power is by recruiting all parts of the coalition," Netanyahu said during a Likud ministers meeting on Sunday. "We wanted to postpone by a week and reach agreements, so we could bring the bill (to a vote) with the support of the entire coalition."

 

Debate between coalition partners centers around the number of lawmakers needed to recertify a bill struck down by the court. While Bennett and Shaked stuck to their demand of a 61 MK majority, Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit and Chief Justice Hayut maintained a 70 MK majority was needed.

 

Education Minister Bennett and Justice Minister Shaked (Photo: Alex Kolomoisky)
Education Minister Bennett and Justice Minister Shaked (Photo: Alex Kolomoisky)

 

Bayit Yehudi leader Naftali Bennett portrayed the legislation as the "balance law," dubbing it as "the most important legislation in a generation."

 

"It would create a balance between the executive and legislative authorities and the judiciary," Bennett explained. "Unfortunately, the High Court has recently turned everything into justiciable: It canceled the Infiltration Prevention Law three times and tied the government's hands, making it unable to remove illegal infiltrators from the State of Israel."

 

"I'm glad a wide consensus is taking shape in the government and in the Knesset surrounding this legislation. This is a great day for Israeli democracy, which is important to all of us," Bennett went on to say.

 

Gabbay disagreed with such assertions, saying the override power initiative is just a part of "a real process of the erosion of Israeli democracy."

 

Gabbay with MK Tzipi Livni at a protest against the override power (Photo: Motti Kimchi)
Gabbay with MK Tzipi Livni at a protest against the override power (Photo: Motti Kimchi)

 

"The override power is one issue out of an entire collection of things this government uses to take our freedoms from us, it wants to create a tyranny of the majority," Gabbay asserted. "In a democracy, there are mechanisms that block the majority from doing certain things, otherwise there's no stopping it."

 

The Zionist Union leader opined that if Netanyahu wanted to stop the legislation, he could.

 

"He's a prime minister. If the prime minister wants, there will be no legislation like that," he said. "They want to bring Turkey into Israel, where there's no real freedom of speech or freedom of movement, and everything depends on the regime and it can do whatever it wants. Only last week, the Knesset passed a law saying the prime minister and defense minister could decide on their own to declare war."

 


פרסום ראשון: 05.06.18, 13:11
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