The government’s highly controversial legislation, which heavily politicizes the Judicial Selection Committee and gives the coalition almost complete control over all judicial appointments in Israel, is approved in the Constitution, Law and Justice Committee for its final readings in the Knesset plenum.
Opposition MKs denounce committee chairman MK Simcha Rothman throughout the proceedings, shouting and interrupting the hearing as Rothman struggles to complete the voting procedure in committee in the face of the disruption.
“I turn to the hundreds of thousands of Israeli citizens who took to the streets last night and say to you ‘You are our brothers and heroes,’ thank you,” says Labor MK Gilad Kariv of the opposition.
“Know that the struggle for Israeli democracy and our home is far from being decided, and we need great strength to guarantee the resilience of Israeli democracy and the future of Zionism,” continues Kariv.
Rothman defends the bill, describing it as “a balanced and good law for all the people of Israel,” and claims that “in every democratic country, the people elect judges. The judges do not have a veto on who will enter the gates of the court and there are balancing mechanisms designed to prevent a small majority from taking over the institutions of power.”
Numerous legal scholars and experts, including the former Irish justice minister Alan Shatter on Sunday, have rejected these arguments, pointing out that even in countries such as Ireland, as well as Canada, Germany, Sweden and others where the justice minister or other cabinet officials make the final selection, candidate lists are drawn up by professional advisory boards with little to no political input.