Ayelet Shaked’s move essentially forces members who support the bill to oppose it, a bit of politicking in anticipation of a future election
Photo: Flash 90
Last Wednesday, former justice minister Ayelet Shaked, whose Yamina party sits in the opposition, succeeded in embarrassing the coalition and reintroducing an important issue to the public debate: She brought the so-called Override Clause to a vote in the Knesset.
What’s the override clause and why is it so important? It’s essentially a way for the legislature to take back power from the High Court, which has been widely accused of judicial overreach. The bill stipulates that the Knesset has the power to re-pass legislation struck down by the High Court with an absolute majority of 61 members. In addition, the bill would require a two-thirds majority of a panel of at least 11 judges to overturn legislation in the first place.
Similar proposals have earned support from Likud and the chareidi parties in the past, but the unity deal signed by Blue and White and Likud to form the current government stipulated that the coalition must not support the measure. As a result, Shas and UTJ announced earlier this week that they would oppose the bill, along with the Blue and White party, led by prime-minister-in-waiting Benny Gantz.
Shaked’s move essentially forces members who support the bill to oppose it, a bit of politicking in anticipation of a future election. But not all Likud members are on board. Likud coalition chairman Miki Zohar called on the prime minister to support Shaked’s bill and fulfill a Likud promise to voters. UTJ MK Yitzchak Pindrus also expressed support for the bill in principle in an interview to Kol B’Rama radio this week, but stated: “We can’t turn this into a political confrontation. If there are 61 MKs who support it, it should be passed, but I don’t know of more than 59 MKs who support it in the current Knesset. It’s a subject that’s too important to be used as a political weapon.”
If the bill is rejected, it can’t be bought to the vote again for another six months. In a statement this week the chareidi parties said: “We’re committed to the stability of the coalition and to preventing new elections, and are acting to pass a state budget to help in the fight against coronavirus.”
Shaked’s proposal would also prevent non-parties from bringing a case before the court. In the preamble to her bill she mentions “petitions aimed at the destruction of flourishing decades-old settlements in Judea and Samaria that form a home and community for hundreds of families.” According to Shaked, “In many of the cases, which sometimes end with a court order to tear down the settlement or buildings within it, the petitioners can’t provide a shred of evidence to ownership of the property on which the buildings they want destroyed are situated.”
In other words, Shaked is satisfying her base of voters while pointing out the hypocrisy of the majority. If elections come soon, as some speculate, fast-rising Shaked and her ally Naftali Bennett will surely use the refusal of the Likud and other parties to rally their supporters. Polls show that the Yamina party would gain 14 seats if elections were held today, up from the current five.
(Originally featured in Mishpacha, Issue 822)
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