High Court to Discuss Legality of Unity Coalition Agreement

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

Having already decided to discuss the petitions on the legality of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s ability to form a government, the High Court will now also discuss the coalition agreement clauses between Netanyahu and Blue and White leader Benny Gantz.

This hearing will be held in addition to the hearing called for on Tuesday, after the High Court granted the petitioners’ request to add to the petition even though it has already been filed. As a result, Judge Yitzchak Amit extended the time for the respondent’s response until this Sunday at 11:00 a.m.

Attorney Dafna Holz-Lechner, who filed the petition on behalf of 123 high-tech and security officials, responded, “I am pleased that the Court found it appropriate that the signed coalition agreement requires a comprehensive legal examination of the substance of the questions we raised in the petition. In doing so, this issue fits in with the discussion of the important and fundamental issue that we have brought to the court several times, whereby it is sought to determine that a person accused of criminal offenses cannot serve as the prime minister of Israel.”

The Attorney General and the other parties will have to give their response to the agreement by Sunday. So far, the petitions filed have only been about whether Netanyahu can serve as prime minister under indictment.

According to the petitioners’ claim, the political agreement is fundamentally unconstitutional, violates all the principles of the law, is tainted with considerations foreign of a criminal defendant and materially prejudicial to the public at large. Therefore, the application for revocation was urgently filed.

Holtz-Lechner has led petitions in the past against Netanyahu’s legality to lead a government.

Under the agreement between Netanyahu and Gantz, in the event that Netanyahu is prevented by legislation or the High Court from forming a government due to the indictments against him, Gantz will not take over as prime minister; rather, the country will go to elections.

Meanwhile, Netanyahu is to meet in the coming days with the members of the rightwing bloc, to discuss the details of the coalition agreement.

He is set to meet with leaders of the Yamina party on Wednesday in a bid to win the party’s support for the national unity government. Netanyahu hopes to keep Yamina in the coalition and retain a wide rightwing majority in the coalition, despite the likely loss of ministerial positions for Yamina in the new coalition.

“Netanyahu wants them with him in the government,” sources in the Likud told Yisrael Hayom on Tuesday. “Even though they speak out against Netanyahu, he wants them in.”

Yamina chairman and Defense Minister Naftali Bennett has stated that the loss of some of the party’s ministerial positions would not prevent Yamina from remaining in the government – as long as agreements can be reached on core issues.