In recent years, there have been attempts to enact the “override clause” in Israel, a legal provision that would enable the Knesset to override the Supreme Court’s rulings in cases in which it strikes down legislation. This week the Constitution, Law and Justice Committee is discussing a draft of such a law.
Political discontent with the power relationship between the judiciary and the political branches has been percolating since the 1990s, often in connection with criminal proceedings against senior politicians. Prof. Amichai Cohen and Dr. Yuval Shany provide context for the ongoing debate concerning recent legal developments in Israel, so that outside observers can follow them more closely.
The debate surrounding the Override Clause should really focus on the disproportionate power of the Knesset and not on the power of the Supreme Court. All other democracies have structural mechanisms that limit the concentration of power in the hands of one institutions - we must create such a mechanism in Israel as well.
In this edited transcript of her conversation with BICOM Director Richard Pater, Vice-President of Research at the Israel Democracy Institute Professor Suzie Navot argues that judicial reforms proposed by the right-wing bloc – to Knesset override of the Supreme Court, executive immunity, and the appointment of judges – threaten Israeli democracy and the already fragile separation of powers.