High Court Won’t Weigh In on Netanyahu Forming a Coalition – Yet

israel supreme court
View of the High Court Building, with the Knesset in the background. (Israeltourism)

The High Court on Wednesday rejected a petition asking that it ban Binyamin Netanyahu the opportunity to form a new government. The petition was filed Tuesday by the Movement for Quality Government, asking that the court issue an injunction against Netanyahu’s forming a government be postponed until the court examined whether an individual under indictment could become Prime Minister.

The petition was rejected not on its merits, but because of its timing. The court said that presenting a petition before the actual vote results were finalized was premature, and that Knesset members needed to weigh in on the issue. The appropriate time to file such a petition was when the President was deciding on whom to impose the task of forming a government, the court said. In response, the group said that it would file the petition again at the appropriate time.

Meanwhile, MKs on the right reacted vociferously to a prospective Blue and White proposal for a law that would ban Netanyahu from forming a government. The law would bar individuals who are under indictment from forming a government. The law, said MK Ofer Shelach, would be tabled in the Knesset immediately after the election results were certified.

The proposal was attacked by a large number of MKs and ministers. Interior Minister Rabbi Aryeh Deri said that “the idea of doing this after the people have had their say as a personal law against Netanyahu breaks all the rules of political engagement. Blue and White is prepared to sacrifice the good of the people and Israeli democracy to serve its agenda of hatred against Netanyahu, which unites them, Avigdor Liberman, and the United Arab List.”

Other political figures on the right responded in a similar vein. Yamina MK Ayelet Shaked said that after Blue and White had taken great pains to compare Netanyahu to Turkish leader Erdogan, “the party that speaks of democracy wants to cancel the results of the election with the help of terror supporters. Erdogan could not have done a better job.” Culture Minister Miri Regev said that “Ahmed Tibi fulfilled his promise – to remove Netanyahu and the Likud. He promised to be in charge of Benny Gantz, and that is happening – Gantz is bowing to Tibi. This law is nothing short of the beginning of a coup. We will not allow it to happen.” Defense Minister Naftali Bennett said that “the effort by Ahmed Tibi and Ofer Shelach to pass an ‘anybody but Netanyahu’ law is a radical, anti-democratic move that spits in the face of half of the country. Elections were held just two days ago and already they are looking at ways to deny the will of the people using unacceptable means.”

According to reports, Gantz has given the green light to the effort. In a statement, Blue and White said that the party was indeed considering sponsoring such a law. “All options are on the table to remove the current government and prevent Netanyahu from forming a new one,” the party said in a social media post.