‘Completely contrary to democracy’ – Lawmakers, activists protest Supreme Court hearing on Basic Law

Justice Minister warns court striking down Basic Law would be “fatal injury” to democracy.

By World Israel News Staff

Proponents of the judicial reform, including Justice Minister Yariv Levin, argued their case against a petition demanding that the Supreme Court strike down a law limiting its power during a historic hearing on Tuesday morning.

An unprecedented panel made up of all 15 Supreme Court justices is mulling a petition filed by anti-overhaul groups demanding that the court nullify a law which voided the so-called “reasonableness clause.”

Voiding the measure, which was passed as a quasi-Constitutional Basic Law, would mark the first time that Israel’s Supreme Court invalidated a fundamental law passed by the Knesset.

Levin argued that the Court does not have the authority to decide whether or not to strike down Basic Laws.

“The court places itself above the government, above the Knesset, above the people and above the law. This is completely contrary to democracy,” he said.

“The very discussions about the possibility of striking Basic Laws, which are the top of the legal pyramid in Israel, are a fatal injury to the majority’s rule.”

MK Simcha Rothman (Religious Zionism) echoed Levin’s sentiments, telling the court that “the Knesset has the right to establish Basic Laws, in line with the will of the people” and that the court does not have the right to interfere with that process.

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Activists in favor of judicial reform gathered outside of the court while the hearing was ongoing, expressing their displeasure over what they said was overreach in holding the hearing at all.

Members of the Zionist NGO Im Tirtzu brought 500 pounds (226 kilos) of bananas to the Jerusalem courthouse in an act of protest, saying that the hearing was indicative of Israel becoming a non-democratic banana republic.

“The fact that not a single one of the 15 justices demanded publicly that this hearing be canceled is itself a mark of shame for Israeli democracy,” said Im Tirztu Chairman Matan Poleg.

“They think that they are saving democracy, but in reality they are destroying it and turning Israel into a banana republic, a third-world country.”