Netanyahu: New reasonableness bill will strengthen Israel’s democracy

His remarks came as hundreds of demonstrators made preparations to march from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem as part of a “Night of Disruption.”

By World Israel News Staff

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the so-called “reasonableness” bill will only “strengthen democracy and not endanger it” in a prime-time televised address on Thursday evening.

Netanyahu’s remarks came as hundreds of demonstrators made preparations to march from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem as part of a “Night of Disruption” ahead of the Knesset’s vote to turn the bill into law.

“As prime minister of all citizens, I aspire to have a broad agreement regarding the amendment to the judicial system,” Netanyahu said.

Referring to the opposition’s reticence in accepting the coalition’s suggestions for compromises in the bill in the past few months of negotiations, Netanyahu went on, “even if we do not have a partner, the coalition is acting responsibly.”

“The coalition’s door will always be open to the opposition and to you, the citizens of Israel. … We are one people with one destiny. We have no other country. We are brothers.”

Following his speech, protesters blocked the Ayalon Highway in Tel Aviv and several other main junctions.

On Wednesday, the Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice Committee approved the bill for final readings, after completing a 19-hour review of some 27,000 objections to the bill that had been filed by the opposition after its first reading passed in the Knesset last week. The opposition claims that the reasonableness clause is a vital need to check the government’s authority since Israel has no Constitution to assure proper checks and balances in the system of government.

The reasonableness standard is one of several benchmarks that judges have in their current arsenal to reject a government decision. None of those other criteria have been touched by the judicial reform legislation.

In his speech, Netanyahu also addressed the hundreds of reservists, mostly from the air force, who announced their refusal to to heed the call of duty in protest over the judicial reform, calling it a “very dangerous phenomenon” for which there would be “zero tolerance.”

“In the past, many citizens objected to the Oslo Accords, the disengagement from Gush Katif [to] a government that was established by not adhering to promises … and no one threatened to refuse service,” he said, adding that “every responsible citizen must object to this.”