Hours after first vote, Knesset panel chair says unwilling to amend ‘reasonableness’ bill

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

Religious Zionism MK Simcha Rothman (R) chairs a hearing of the Constitution, Law and Justice Committee on the "reasonableness" bill, preparing it for its final Knesset reading, amid widespread national protests, hours after it passed a first reading, July 11, 2023. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Religious Zionism MK Simcha Rothman (R) chairs a hearing of the Constitution, Law and Justice Committee on the "reasonableness" bill, preparing it for its final Knesset reading, amid widespread national protests, hours after it passed a first reading, July 11, 2023. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Knesset Constitution, Law, and Justice Committee chair MK Simcha Rothman claims the bill to cancel judicial scrutiny over the “reasonableness” of politicians’ decisions will only apply to the cabinet and government ministers, and not to municipal officials.

“I looked for mayors in the bill and I couldn’t find them,” Rothman chides an opposition member on the committee, before being met with cries of “elected officials!”

“I am very determined to not remove people from the law that are not in the law,” Rothman adds.

The current version of the bill outlaws judicial review over the reasonableness of decisions made by the government, ministers, or “other elected officials, as set by law.” Critics have charged that the bill will shut down citizens’ rights to petition against their local authorities.

Rothman says that he is unwilling to change that language in the bill because it would slow down the legislative process, as doing so would require the passage of another amendment. Committee legal adviser Gur Bligh backs Rothman, saying that “for the reasonableness test not to apply to another elected official, there is a need to pass another law.”

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