“The hearing being held today in the court is in practice a hearing to cancel the results of the elections,” accused Justice Minister Yariv Levin.
JUSTICE MINISTER Yariv Levin presents the reasonableness clause to the Knesset in July. / (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
The coalition accused the High Court of Justice of cancelling the elections and destroying democracy on Thursday as the court held a hearing on whether or not to strike down the Incapacitation Law.
“THe hearing being held today in the court is in practice a hearing to cancel the results of the elections,” accused Justice Minister Yariv Levin. “The meaning of postponing the applicability of the Incapacitation Law is that an official, no matter how senior, can take for themself the authority, which was never given to them, to debate the ridiculous possibility of declaring a prime minister incapacitated in complete opposition to the results of the elections.
“The petitioners are basically requesting to eliminate Prime Minister [Benjamin] Netanyahu to put an end to the right-wing rule. They failed at the ballots and are now requesting to cancel the results of the election.
“The result is that there will no longer be democracy in Israel but a rule of people who put themselves above the people and above the voters’ decision at the ballots.”
Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich added that the hearing was, to his mind, illegitimate.
Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich is seen addressing a Knesset committee meeting in Jerusalem, on July 19, 2023. (credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90)
“The people had their say in the election, and officials cannot cancel the choice of the people,” he said. “Judges cannot cancel basic laws, and they definitely cannot invent for themselves or for the attorney-general the authority to dismiss an elected prime minister. This is the truth, and the rest is a terrible and invalid show.”
“If Netanyahu is incapacitated, Israel is incapacitated”
Women’s Advancement Minister May Golan said that if the High Court declared Netanyahu incapacitated, it would be declaring the Israeli public incapacitated.
“Incapacitation is ‘an inability to fulfill a role’,” she said. “And anyone who saw the prime minister deliver his speech to the UN understands how extreme the notion is that is being considered in the High Court. The only people who need to be declared incapacitated are a handful of anarchists who are instilling fear and terror on the frightened and trembling opposition leaders.”
Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Liberman attended the hearing as his party is one of the petitioners.
“This is a highly unreasonable law that enables declaring a prime minister incapacitated only after a funeral,” he said. “The legislation process was handled under personal pressure that stemmed from the prime minister’s paranoia, and the Knesset cannot be the answer to his paranoia.
“The law is a personal law that is meant to change the rules of the game in the middle of the game, and this is something we will not allow. The whole legislation passed by the government is an expression of the system’s insanity. This is really the most failing government in the history of Israel.”
Liberman urged the court to strike down the law, or in the worst case scenario, to make it applicable only from the next government and added that his party would respect whatever ruling the court makes.
The hearing is being held after the Movement for the Quality of Government and Yisrael Beytenu petitioned the High Court to strike down the Incapacitation Law which was legislated by this government at the beginning of its term.
The law in question is an amendment to the Basic Law: Government and dictates that a prime minister could only be declared incapacitated in cases of mental or physical health issues that leave them unable to serve.
If the court rules to strike down the law, this wouldn’t mean that Netanyahu would be declared incapacitated. It would make the circumstances under which a prime minister could be declared incapacitated less strict.