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Opposition lawmakers seek to obstruct passage of Reasonableness Standard Bill, submit 'unprecedented' 27,000 reservations

Coalition aims to move bill to final Knesset vote next week, opposition attempts to delay

Knesset Member Simcha Rotman, head of the Constitution, Law and Justice Committee with Knesset Legal Adviser Sagit Afik at a committee meeting on the judicial reform, in Jerusalem, July 17, 2023. (Photo: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

With the Israeli Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice Committee set to advance the Reasonableness Standard Bill for final voting, opposition lawmakers submitted an unprecedented 27,676 reservations to the proposed legislation in an attempt to delay the bill’s passing.

Opposition lawmakers argue that discussion and dialogue surrounding the bill were insufficient to allow for genuine debate and modification. They also accused the coalition of ignoring expert advice on the bill’s ramifications.

Prof. Yuval Elbashan, one of the experts who addressed the committee on Sunday, said that the Reasonableness Standard Bill should only cover full government decisions and not those of individual members. Elbashan added that the previous government even saw the need for protection from the reasonableness standard.

“Since the committee did not hold a substantive debate as is required for a law that will harm the economy, security, and Israeli citizens, and the chairman of the committee continued with his repressive behavior, opposition members of the committee are determined to continue the struggle against the regime coup that is destroying Israel democracy,” read a statement released by opposition lawmakers on the committee.

The Student Protest Movement, which helped to write some of the more than 27,600 reservations, called it a historic mobilization of over 1,000 activists.”

Committee Chairperson Simcha Rothman accused opposition lawmakers of failing to participate in good faith during committee discussions.

Rothman and coalition members say the bill is necessary to curb the growing power of Israel's High Court, which overrides decisions of elected ministers in favor of the opinions of unelected judges.

However, opposition lawmakers argue that the bill is too broad in its current form because it would minimize accountability for government ministers and increase opportunities for corruption, arguing hat the coalition intends to use the bill to reinstate convicted minister Aryeh Deri.

The extensive list of reservations was submitted ahead of the 7 a.m. deadline on Monday morning.

A legal advisor told the lawmakers that reservations are typically used for tweaking laws, not delaying them and told the opposition to include the most important reservations, or treat them in blocs according to subject.

In the Monday morning Knesset Committee meeting, which began one hour late due to the large number of reservations, Rothman let the opposition decide which method to use in dealing with the reservations.

The committee is expected to meet each day to discuss the reservations until Wednesday, with a final Knesset plenum vote scheduled for next Sunday, July 23.

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

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