Knesset Losers Take Recommendations Bill to High Court

Recommendations Bill
Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid seen during the marathon plenary session in the Knesset that culminated on Tuesday night. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

Hours after losing the Knesset vote on the Police Recommendations Bill, opponents turned to Israel’s High Court with a petition to strike down the new law.

After more than two days of debate and voting in which the coalition defeated the opposition 59-54 late Wednesday night, Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid and the Movement for Quality Government asked the court to intervene. While a text of the petition was not immediately available, it appeared that the grounds for annulment would be inequality.

Yesh Atid MK Karine Elharrar said, in explaining the move: “We cannot allow Israeli democracy to corrupt itself with a law that violates the principle of equality; a law whose only purpose is to intimidate the police and law enforcement agencies,” she said, speaking outside the court.

The law prevents police from recommending to prosecutors whether or not to indict based on the evidence they have gathered. It will apply only to probes of public officials and other high-profile cases, and not to the two ongoing corruption probes into Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and his associates.

Shortly before voting, Lapid declared he would go to the court if the bill passed. Following the threat, Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked upbraided him in the plenum:

“When you stand here and say that after you fail to bring down the law you will appeal to the High Court, you humiliate the Knesset and show& that you don’t understand anything about constitutional law.”

Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein warned that he would prevent the opposition from holding future filibusters if Lapid went through with the legal measure.

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