New Law Is Intended to Secure Netanyahu’s Premiership

The coalition is satisfied: The Supreme Court can no longer remove Benjamin Netanyahu from office.

By Aviel Schneider | | Topics: Benjamin Netanyahu
Full steam ahead: Netanyahu has secured his office.
Full steam ahead: Netanyahu has secured his office. Photo: Marc Israel Sellem/POOL

In the shadow of the endless and mounting protests across the country, the Impeachment Bill passed its second and third readings early Thursday morning. Now it is becoming even more difficult to declare a prime minister in Israel incapacitated or unfit for office. The draft law provides that a prime minister can only be declared unfit if he is physically or mentally unable to perform his duties as Israel’s head of government. The prime minister himself can make this determination, or, should he refuse to do so, the Knesset can make that determination but only with a super-majority of 90 out of 120 lawmakers voting in favor. The ranks of the right-wing governing coalition are more than satisfied with this, as the Supreme Court is no longer able to remove Benjamin Netanyahu from office.

“The Israel Beteinu Party will petition the Supreme Court to invalidate the Impeachment Law. We will not allow the State of Israel to become a monarchy of the Netanyahu family,” party leader Avigdor Liberman tweeted. Opposition leader Yair Lapid also criticized the law’s passage in a tweet: “Like thieves in the night, the coalition has just passed an obscene and corrupt law against an unfounded rumor of impeachment. Israel’s citizens will find once again – with the holiday season approaching as the cost of living continues to soar – that Netanyahu only cares about himself.”

For opponents, the new law is a shameful move whose sole purpose is to prevent Netanyahu from being losing power. “That’s all the coalition and this government is doing with the personally tailored law for Benjamin Netanyahu and his coup,” Labor Party leader Merav Michaeli also tweeted.

Israel’s right-wing voters, however, see it differently, saying the Impeachment Law was absolutely necessary to ensure that Israel’s left-wing legal system isn’t able to unjustly remove a sitting prime minister like Netanyahu who they can’t defeat in a fair election. This was particularly important for the Orthodox Jewish parties in Knesset, because they know that only in a coalition led by Benjamin Netanyahu can they wield the kind of influence they now have. A possible impeachment was always in the air and seriously worried them, as well as other coalition allies.

Previously, it was in the Attorney General’s power to suspend a head of government. Should it turn out that the prime minister’s conduct prevented court proceedings against him to be properly conducted, she was entitled to announce a temporary suspension. The governing coalition has neutralized this threat with the new draft law, which of course angers their opponents.

A few hours later, the “Movement for Quality Government” filed a petition against the Impeachment Law before the Supreme Court in Jerusalem. The movement is demanding that the Supreme Court issue an injunction against the law pending the conclusion of the appeal hearing. And what happens if the Supreme Court does so?


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