OAN Geraldyn Berry
UPDATED 4:37 PM – Thursday, March 23, 2023
The Israeli Parliament, the Knesset, passed legislation on Thursday that considerably restricts the circumstances under which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu might be declared unfit to lead.
This comes as Netanyahu is facing an ongoing corruption trial.
The first of several slated to revamp the judiciary, the measure is designed to prevent the Attorney General’s Office or the Supreme Court from meddling in potential impeachments.
According to the measure, the Supreme Court cannot examine “a request to declare the incapacity of the Prime Minister.”
“Given that a sitting prime minister derives his power and authority from the people through his representatives, this proposal reflects the existing concept according to which the removal of the leader against his will, will be determined by the people’s representatives alone without the involvement of an unelected arm,” the statement said.
The Knesset approved the measure that only the prime minister himself or the cabinet, with a two-thirds majority, can designate the leader unsuitable by a final vote of 61 to 47. A supermajority in the Parliament would then be needed to approve the cabinet’s decision.
On Thursday, the Knesset released a statement.
“The authority to declare the Prime Minister incapacitated will only belong to the government or the Knesset and will only occur due to physical or mental incapacity,” it said.
A Supreme Court challenge of the rule restricting the methods by which a prime minister in office may be deemed unfit, has been announced by opposing figures.
Former Prime Minister Yair Lapid has described it as a “disgraceful and corrupt personalized law” and claimed that Netanyahu is ultimately “looking out only for himself.”
Labor Party leader Michaeli called the bill “a shameful, disgraceful law whose whole purpose is prevent Netanyahu from being sent to prison.”
“Like thieves in the night, the coalition just passed a disgraceful and corrupt personalized law in response to a baseless rumor about recusal. Every citizen of Israel should know – days before Passover, while cost of living is soaring, Netanyahu is once more looking out only for himself,” Lapid said.
The current prime minister is on trial on charges of fraud, breach of trust, and bribery and is the first Israeli prime leader to stand in court as a defendant. He continues to maintain his innocence.
Netanyahu consented to a conflict-of-interest declaration as part of a compromise with the court to continue to hold the position of prime minister despite his ongoing trial.
The Attorney General later concluded this due to the announcement, and Netanyahu was not permitted to participate in the formulation of the new judicial system’s policies.
Currently, a petition asking the Israeli Supreme Court to deem Netanyahu unfit for office due to his violation of that conflict-of-interest declaration is before the court.
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