WATCH: Fateful High Court hearing on reasonableness law gets underway in Jerusalem

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

One of the most consequential hearings in the High Court of Justice in the country’s history gets underway, with civil society organizations petitioning the court to strike down the government’s “reasonableness” law, an amendment to Basic Law: The Judiciary and a key part of the coalition’s judicial overhaul agenda.

The proceedings are being livestreamed online.

The hearing is essentially a clash over Israel’s proto-constitution, with the petitioners claiming that the law limiting the judiciary’s power to review government decisions violates Israel’s democratic character, while the government will argue that Israel’s constitutional arrangement bans the court from intervening in Basic Laws.

The government and its legal representatives will be the first to plead to the unprecedented 15-justice panel, and will argue both that the court is subject to the Basic Laws and therefore cannot overturn them, and that the law does not harm Israeli democracy.

The petitioners will then argue that the law undermines key guardrails of Israel’s democracy and should therefore be struck down.

The comments and questions the High Court justices make during the hours-long hearing will be key in gaining an insight into how they might ultimately rule on this explosive case, which could take weeks or even months.

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