‘Criminals in suits’: MKs slam Supreme Court before likely ruling to void law protecting Netanyahu

“Today, we will find out if three judges will throw away Israeli democracy,” wrote Transportation Minister Miri Regev (Likud) on Twitter.

By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News

Numerous ministers and coalition MKs slammed the Supreme Court ahead of an expected decision to strike down the “recusal law” protecting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu from being forced out of office by the attorney-general.

“Today, we will find out if three judges will throw away Israeli democracy,” wrote Transportation Minister Miri Regev (Likud) on Twitter.

Arguing that the Supreme Court does not have the authority to overturn Basic Laws, Heritage Minister Amichai Eliyahu (Otzma Yehudit) said that a decision to strike down the legislation would spark a constitutional crisis and questions around the government’s next steps for the judicial reform.

“If the Supreme Court rejects Basic Laws, they are in fact breaking the law,” Eliyahu said in a statement to Hebrew-language media.

Should the Court nullify the recusal law, “we will have to ask ourselves how we will deal with criminals in suits,” he added.

National Missions Minister Orit Strock (Religious Zionism) told Ynet that if the law is overturned, the Supreme Court is “leading itself in a mad dash to the abyss. It will have an even greater impact on our duty to reform the judicial system.”

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The court convened on Thursday to discuss the law, and based on statements in open court by various justices, it appears likely that the legislation will be overturned.

Chief Justice Esther Hayut said that the law was “clearly personal.”

In March 2023, the Knesset passed a quasi-Constitutional Basic Law outlining the conditions for a prime minister to be declared unfit to serve. The law states that a premier can be forced to leave office only after a majority vote by 75 percent of the Knesset or cabinet.

This forced recusal may only be triggered by latent mental or physical incapacitation – meaning that a premier cannot be forced to step down due to legal issues.

Last week, Attorney-General Gali Barahav-Miara filed a bombshell petition with the Supreme Court arguing that the law should be nullified because it was passed to protect Netanyahu.

Barahav-Miara’s move, which marks the first time that an attorney-general has challenged a Basic Law in front of the Supreme Court, sparked speculation that she will attempt to force Netanhyahu’s recusal.

Several left-wing groups have previously filed petitions with the Supreme Court arguing that Netanyahu is unfit to hold office due to an alleged conflict of interest regarding the judicial reform and his ongoing criminal trial.