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Israel's attorney general urges Supreme Court to take action against law protecting Netanyahu from recusal

Attorney General Gali Baharav-Miara at a ceremony held for outgoing Supreme Court judge George Karra, at the Supreme Court in Jerusalem, May 29, 2022. (Photo: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Israeli Attorney General Gali Baharav-Miara encouraged the Supreme Court in Jerusalem to act against a law the government passed in March which prevents the judiciary from forcing a sitting prime minister to step down if he or she is considered unsuitable for the job.

Baharav-Miara's rare filing on Tuesday argued that a Basic Law designed to personally benefit one individual “contains a serious constitutional flaw” that requires court intervention.

The new law is widely seen as being designed to benefit Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is currently on trial in three separate court cases involving corruption and breach of trust.

The prime minister’s attorney responded to the filing by saying the attorney general “must not interfere with the legislation of Basic Laws by the Knesset in a manner which would constitute unprecedented and extraordinary intervention by the court in the constitutional role of the Knesset as the constituent authority.”

“The honorable court has no authority to annul an aspect of a Basic Law, and the prime minister believes this is an issue which is not justiciable,” Netanyahu’s lawyer added.

In March, the attorney general accused Netanyahu of acting illegally by violating a conflict-of-interest agreement he signed which prevents him from intervening in legal matters while he is on trial.

Meanwhile, the Yesh Atid opposition party and the Movement for Quality Government in Israel NGO submitted a petition to the Supreme Court on Tuesday, ordering Justice Minister Yariv Levin to assemble the panel that elects judge postings to the bench.

The justice minister reportedly responded by accusing the opposition of presenting legal obstacles.

“They [the opposition] just want to drag things out again so the High Court will force me to convene the Judicial Selection Committee,” Levin said, according to local Channel 12 news.

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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