Amid chaos, nation-wide strikes, Knesset passes ‘reasonableness’ bill into law

A win for the pro-reform camp as 64 lawmakers vote in favor of the first piece of legislation towards an overhaul of the judicial system.

By World Israel News Staff

All 64 members of the Israeli government coalition voted in favor of the ‘reasonableness’ law on Monday, despite appeals from the opposition as well as government ministers, President Isaac Herzog and even U.S. President Joe Biden to delay the move in an attempt to reach a compromise with the Opposition.

The law bans “reasonableness” as justification for judges to reverse decisions made by the elected officials.

“We have taken the first step in a historic process to correct the judicial system,” stated Justice Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Yariv Levin.

Ahead of the voting, Levin, an architect of the reforms, argued that reasonableness is a gray area that would depend on the judges’ personal opinions.

“You [judges] want to decide what’s reasonable and what’s not, instead of the people chosen by the nation? That’s reasonable?” he asked.

“Who said that what is reasonable in the eyes of the judges is even the logical thing to do? Who decided that their personal positions are better than those of the [elected] ministers?…

“Reasonableness is a worldview. It’s not contract law, it’s not evidence law, it’s not a legal matter,” he said.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant were among those in favor of compromise. Surprisingly to many, on Monday, Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich joined the call to delay implementation of the law in an effort to reach compromise.

Protests by tens of thousands of Israelis against the reforms turned violent outside the Knesset during the vote. There were several arrests.

Major businesses and tech firms shut their offices Monday in protest of the reforms; banks were open for emergencies only. Oren Buta, chairman of the Movement of Independent Businesses, slammed the decision that was hurting employees and threatened a lawsuit.

Over 200,000 Israelis demonstrated in Tel Aviv Sunday night, shouting “We demand judicial reform” and “64 Mandates” in an effort to strengthen the government’s resolve to carry out its promise ahead of the November 2022 national election, in which the Netanyahu coalition won a 64-seat majority.