Judicial reform’s opening stage carried 63-47 in first Knesset reading
Staging stormy protests, tens of marchers outside and opposition members in the chamber overnight 0, called the 63-47 passing of the “government’s judicial coup” on Monday, Feb. 20, a “death blow to democracy.” PM Binyamin Netanyahu said Monday was “an important and great day” and called for negotiations with opponents without prior conditions. Opposition leader Yair Lapid pointed to pro-law coalition voters, saying “History will judge you”. Benny Gantz: “A black day for democracy.” Vocal members of the opposition rallies outside the Knesset and other parts of the country vowed to step up their campaign against “this key landmark in time since the state was founded” and “a betrayal of the Declaration of Independence. Sixty-three lawmakers voted destroy the House [Jewish Homeland],” they shouted from a sea of blue and white national flags.
The reform bill’s author Justice Minister Yariv Levin pledged: “I won’t be deterred from pressing forward with my effort to repair the justice system so that it is no longer the province of elites and the aristocracy but belongs to everyone.” He called on opposition members to show responsibility and sit down and talk, because,” he said, “understandings can be reached.”
One of the first sections passed would deny the High Court the prerogative to inpede at will parliamentary legislation and the second would give the government coalition a majority on the judge appointments panel. These sections face two more readings before being passed into law while further sections are yet to be put to the vote in the plenum.