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Gantz says he backs an override law, but not one that ‘legalizes corruption’

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

Outgoing Defense Minister Benny Gantz says he supports a form of the hotly debated judicial reforms that would constrain both the High Court of Justice’s ability to invalidate laws and the Knesset’s ability to overcome the court’s strikedown, provided they require two-thirds majorities in each instance.

The National Unity party leader says that he is “in favor of carrying out a broad process of enacting a Basic Law, legislation with balanced checks between authorities, and requiring a large majority of judges in order to invalidate a law and a large majority [of MKs] to invalidate a court decision. For example: two-thirds of the High Court justices in order to invalidate a law, and two-thirds in order to overcome it and reinstate the law.”

During the election campaign that is expected to return Gantz to the opposition benches, he came out strongly against the incoming coalition’s plans to legislate a override clause to reinstate legislation struck down by the court. Negotiations teams from the right-religious coalition’s parties are currently debating the number of the Knesset’s 120 MKs required to do so, but the clause itself is a legislative priority shared by all of their parties.

Speaking at his party’s Monday faction meeting, Gantz charges that an override clause enabled by a simple majority of 61 MKs “legitimize[s] corruption,” alluding to the fact that it can be used to pass legislation that would enable Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu to slip his ongoing corruption trial and let Shas head Aryeh Deri assume a ministerial post despite his current suspended sentence for tax crimes.

“Whoever does this is acting in the name of corruption and not in the name of governance. What Netanyahu is seeking to carry out here is a ‘corruption revolution,'” the National Unity party leader charges.

Gantz also says a narrow override clause hurts minority rights and challenges Israel’s ability to maintain “complete social and political equality for all of its citizens.”

“When you overcome the High Court of Justice by a majority of 61 — half of the people — you will feel that this is the government of half the people,” the defense minister adds.

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