Photo by Eitan Elhadez-Barak/TPS on 31 March, 2022

Israeli High Court Justices Cut Short German Visit to Study Petitions Against Judicial Reform

Public By Pesach Benson • 25 July, 2023

Jerusalem, 25 July, 2023 (TPS) -- Several Israeli Supreme Court Justices visiting Germany cut their trip short and are returning to Jerusalem to study legal appeals filed by opposition groups against the “reasonableness bill” passed by the Knesset on Monday.

The legislation restricts how judges can apply the legal doctrine of reasonableness.

The justices, including Supreme Court Esther Hayut, were in Germany as guests of the Germany-Israel Friendship Association in honor of Israel’s 75th anniversary.

On Monday afternoon, all 64 members of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s governing coalition voted in favor of the key judicial reform legislation. Opposition lawmakers boycotted the third and final vote.

The Movement for Quality Government in Israel said it has already requested an injunction from the Supreme Court.

The organization claimed the law should be canceled as it “fundamentally changes the basic structure of Israeli parliamentary democracy and the nature of the regime, while de facto abolishing the judiciary and seriously damaging the delicate fabric of the separation of powers and the system of checks and balances in the State of Israel.

“The government of destruction has raised its malicious hand against the State of Israel. Now it’s the Supreme Court’s turn to step up and prevent this legislation [from taking effect],” the Movement for Quality Government’s chairman Eliad Shraga said.

The governing coalition’s judicial reforms are deeply controversial. Other legislation advancing through the Knesset would primarily alter the way judges are appointed and removed, give the Knesset the ability to override certain High Court rulings, and change the way legal advisors are appointed to government ministries.

Supporters of the legal overhaul say they want to end years of judicial overreach while opponents describe the proposals as anti-democratic.