Chaos in Knesset meeting on judicial reform, MKs ejected

Committee head Simcha Rothman muted opposition MKs’ microphones after repeated screaming and heckling, further outraging the lawmakers.

By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News

A Knesset meeting on judicial reform devolved into chaos on Wednesday morning, as opposition MKs repeatedly heckled Justice Minister Yariv Levin, who eventually ordered that they be ejected from the meeting room.

Levin had planned to present the next steps for his overhaul of Israel’s justice system, which includes an Override Clause, which would see the Supreme Court stripped of the ability to unilaterally veto legislation passed by the Knesset.

Changes to the manner in which justices are chosen, reducing unelected legal advisors’ ability to influence government decisions, and clearly defining under which circumstances the court is allowed to intervene in legislative matters are also part of the potential reform.

However, Levin was constantly interrupted by MKs from the opposition as he tried to discuss the outline for the plan, with Religious Zionism MK Simcha Rothman failing to maintain order during the committee meeting.

After Levin was constantly interrupted by screaming from the MKs, Rothman eventually muted the microphones of several of the hecklers, which further outraged the lawmakers.

MK Yorai Lahav-Hertzano of Yesh Atid accused Rothman of “gagging” the opposition.

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“I will not let you silence me and the Justice Minister and if you do not know how to wait your turn to speak, you will be silenced,” Rothman replied, triggering another round of heckling and screaming.

Eventually, Lahav-Herzano and several other MKs were ejected from the room, with Rothman saying they could return to the meeting should they agree to be quiet while others were speaking.

Opposition MKs then challenged Rothman’s statement that the judicial reform should be discussed with all members of the government, and include opinions from legal experts and scholars.

“This is a discussion at gunpoint!” shouted National Unity MK Orit Farkash-HaCohen.

When Levin said that there was public support for the reform, several MKs laughed loudly.

Labor MK Efrat Reiten sarcastically remarked that the Tel Aviv protest against the new government last Saturday night “shows the public support” for the reform.