Coalition scheduled to advance judicial overhaul this week

Jeremy Sharon is The Times of Israel’s legal affairs and settlements reporter

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with Justice Minister Yariv Levin during a debate and a vote in the  Knesset plenum, March 6, 2023. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with Justice Minister Yariv Levin during a debate and a vote in the Knesset plenum, March 6, 2023. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

The coalition is set to drive ahead with an array of highly controversial legislation this week, including advancing the judicial and legal overhaul, as well as bills to assist Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Shas leader Aryeh Deri with their legal troubles.

Among the legislation set to be advanced this week is a bill to allow Netanyahu to receive donations to fund his legal expenses in his criminal trials; a bill to allow Shas leader Aryeh Deri to return to ministerial office despite a High Court ruling banning him from doing so; a bill to ensure Netanyahu cannot be forced to recuse himself due to a conflict of interests he might have between his criminal trial and the government’s radical legal reforms; and a bill allowing hospitals to stop people from bringing hametz, or leavened goods, onto their premises during Passover, an arrangement previously struck down by the High Court.

The law for donations to Netanyahu’s legal expenses is expected to come for its first reading in the Knesset plenum; the so-called Deri Two law – since it is the second law being passed in this Knesset to allow him to serve as a minister – will also come for a first reading; the recusal law will likely be passed into law in its second and third readings; and the hametz law is also supposed to come to its final readings so that it can be in place for the upcoming Passover holiday.

At the same time, the Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice Committee will hold four hearings to prepare the law designed to give the government full control over all judicial appointments for its second and third readings.

That bill, a central pillar of the government’s judicial overhaul program, will likely be brought for its second and third readings the following week, the last week of the Knesset’s winter session.

Following the rejection by the coalition of President Isaac Herzog’s alternative proposal for judicial reforms, the coalition is reportedly discussing different options to moderate the legislation which has been advanced so far.

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