Override Supreme Court or no gov’t, religious parties threaten Netanyahu – report

The factions have threatened to refuse to partner with Netanyahu for a new right-wing, religious coalition, should he refuse to commit to a passing the Supreme Court override bill.

By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News

The Haredi United Torah Judaism party and the right-wing Religious Zionism Party are demanding the passage of a law that Knesset votes can override Supreme Court as a central term for any coalition agreement, as well as a pledge that the law be passed as one of the first acts of the new government.

Hebrew language media reported that the parties are requiring Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s commitment to this legislation to be enshrined in writing as part of their coalition agreements.

The factions have threatened to refuse to partner with Netanyahu for a new right-wing, religious coalition, should he refuse to commit to a passing the Supreme Court override bill.

If Netanyahu does not agree to the condition and the parties follow through on their threats, he would likely be left without the ability to form a coalition.

According to an Arutz Sheva report, the Religious Zionism party is specifically focused on the Override Clause in order to overturn a Supreme Court ruling which found that people who convert to Judaism via the Reform movement qualify for Israeli citizenship.

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The United Torah Judaism and Shas parties are also interested in seeing the ruling regarding Reform Judaism struck down, as well as a cancellation of a previous Supreme Court ruling which said that their constituents – Haredi Jews – are not automatically exempt from military service.

Although that ruling was made in 2018, there has been no wide-scale, forced recruitment of the ultra-Orthodox in Israel.

As a non-constitutional democracy, Israel has long struggled with the limits of its judicial branch, and rulings by the Supreme Court which directly contradict laws passed by the Knesset have been an ongoing source of controversy.

Israel’s Supreme Court is composed of unelected judges, who are appointed by a secret vote in what critics argue is a non-transparent process. The body has held that it has the authority to unilaterally cancel Knesset laws that it deems “undemocratic.”

In April 2020, the Supreme Court struck down Knesset legislation which forbade leavened bread products to be brought into public hospitals during the Passover holiday.

The ruling is often cited as an example of judicial overreach in Israel, as the Supreme Court struck down legislation which had been passed by a majority of elected officials in the country.