ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 138

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Despite 2,500 reservations, Knesset panel barrels ahead with judicial appointments bill

Carrie Keller-Lynn is a former political and legal correspondent for The Times of Israel

MK Simcha Rotman, head of the Constitution, Law and Justice Committee, at a committee meeting at the Knesset in Jerusalem, March 21, 2023. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
MK Simcha Rotman, head of the Constitution, Law and Justice Committee, at a committee meeting at the Knesset in Jerusalem, March 21, 2023. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

More than 2,500 reservations have been submitted against the coalition’s bill to give itself complete control of most judicial appointments, as the opposition seeks to delay a vote on the legislation that would clear it for final Knesset plenum votes.

The Constitution, Law, and Justice Committee is moving closer to voting on the bill, which is one of the two anchors of the coalition’s push to redraw the balance of power between judges and politicians, along with a mechanism for the Knesset to stymie judicial review.

In the ongoing committee discussion, opposition members claim that the bill’s revamped content — submitted earlier this week by committee chair Simcha Rothman — is a “new subject,” meaning it is outside of the scope of authority claimed by a previous version of the bill that passed its first reading.

Rothman swats those concerns away, claiming the changes are “cosmetic,” but the matter will ultimately be decided by the Knesset House Committee. Both committees are under the coalition’s control, and the House Committee is expected to reject the opposition’s claim.

While the Knesset’s legal adviser Sagit Afik wrote in a letter to the committee this morning that she does not see a problem in the committee’s general procedures, she did press Rothman to create enough time for the opposition to submit further reservations against the new draft, rather than vote on it today as planned.

It is yet unclear whether the vote will take place today.

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