Bill to bypass High Court passes ministerial body
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Bill to bypass High Court passes ministerial body

Ayelet Shaked’s measure would allow Knesset to vote on laws struck down based on Human Dignity Basic Law

Lazar Berman is a former breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

MK Ayelet Shaked (Jewish Home) in the Israeli parliament on January 15, 2014. (photo credit: Flash90)
MK Ayelet Shaked (Jewish Home) in the Israeli parliament on January 15, 2014. (photo credit: Flash90)

A bill allowing the Knesset to repass certain laws struck down by the High Court received a significant boost Sunday when it gained a green light from a key ministerial body.

The “High Court bypass” measure, proposed by Jewish Home MK Ayelet Shaked, would allow the Knesset to vote on bills struck down by the High Court for violating Israel’s Basic Law: Human Dignity and Liberty.

For such a measure to pass a second time, it would need the support of an absolute majority of Knesset members.

Eight lawmakers in the Ministerial Committee for Legislation supported the bill, while three opposed – Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, Science and Technology Minister Yaakov Peri, and Health Minister Yael German.

A bill that passes the Ministerial Committee on Legislation enjoys the support of the coalition in the full Knesset vote, meaning it stands a good chance of becoming law.

African migrants protesting outside the Holot detention center in February 2014. (photo credit: Flash90)
African migrants protesting outside the Holot detention center in February 2014. (photo credit: Flash90)

Livni, who heads the ministerial panel, said she would appeal the decision, according to Ynet.

If Shaked’s bill passes the Knesset vote, the path will be open for her to move for the repassage of a law that allows the government to crack down on illegal immigrants from Africa, including holding them in detention facilities for up to a year.

The High Court struck down the “infiltrator law” in September, angering right-wing Knesset members, and leading to the efforts to pass legislation to prevent the High Court from intervening on the issue.

Interior Minister Gideon Sa’ar said he could “not accept the verdict of the High Court,” which, if implemented, would mean “we won’t have a Jewish democratic state because our borders will be overrun… with illegal infiltrators.

The interior minister noted that since the infiltration law was passed by the Knesset in 2013, allowing the prolonged detention of migrants, the number of migrants leaving the country had tripled — underlining the effectiveness of the law.

Shaked, who heads the Knesset caucus on migrants, declared: “Today the lives of hundreds of thousands of Israelis were destroyed.”

“The High Court [effectively] called on all the citizens of Africa to come to Israel. It harmed the security of the state, and the security of the residents of southern Tel Aviv, and trampled on the legislative branch.”

Like Sa’ar, Shaked pledged to revise the Basic Law on human dignity, thus cutting off the High Court’s jurisdiction on the matter.

Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein recommended last week that ministers oppose the bill allowing the Knesset to bypass the High Court.

Marissa Newman and AFP contributed to this report. 

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