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Lapid, Yesh Atid gird for battle over incoming government’s court override plans

Party members meet with experts to discuss impact of incoming coalition’s planned legislation to bypass High Court; outgoing PM vows to not let right-wing ‘normalize criminality’

Outgoing Prime Minister and Yesh Atid party leader Yair Lapid speaks during a faction meeting at the Knesset, in Jerusalem, on November 21, 2022. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Outgoing Prime Minister and Yesh Atid party leader Yair Lapid speaks during a faction meeting at the Knesset, in Jerusalem, on November 21, 2022. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Outgoing prime minister Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid party is gearing up for a fight with the presumed new government over its plans to pass legislation to allow lawmakers to override High Court rulings that strike down laws as unconstitutional.

Yesh Atid members met Sunday morning with Israel Democracy Institute expert Prof. Suzie Navot and other civil society figures to hear about how the proposed override clause “causes critical harm to Israeli citizens, to their day-to-day lives and basic rights,” a statement from Yesh Atid said.

“We have no intention of staying silent while the incoming government attempts to run roughshod over the law-abiding, taxpaying and army-serving public,” Lapid said, according to the party statement. “We are not their pushovers. We won’t let them normalize criminality.

“The incoming government is trying to change the rules,” Lapid added. “Their message is, ‘We are permitted to do everything.'”

Presumed prime minister-to-be Benjamin Netanyahu and his Likud party led a bloc of right-wing and religious parties to victory in the November 1 elections. Likud is in the midst of negotiations to form a new government with bloc members, but Netanyahu’s hopes to swiftly sign them up for a coalition have run into difficulties, due to demands from his prospective partners.

Among them, two of the parties, ultra-Orthodox United Torah Judaism and far-right Religious Zionism, have stressed that they want a commitment from Likud to pass the override legislation before they agree to join the coalition. Netanyahu is said to favor first swearing in a government and only afterward agreeing on policy. But the bill has strong support throughout the bloc.

Speaker of the Knesset Mickey Levy seen during a plenum session in the assembly hall of parliament in Jerusalem, on November 21, 2022. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Meanwhile, Yesh Atid is reportedly planning to delay the appointment of a new Knesset speaker by the incoming coalition.

The position is currently held by Yesh Atid’s MK Mickey Levy. Netanyahu’s right-wing bloc had reportedly planned to swiftly replace him in order to gain control of parliament’s legislative agenda and quickly pass several key laws, including legislation that would allow the appointment of Shas leader Aryeh Deri as a minister despite his recent criminal conviction.

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