Prominent Knesset members propose curbing the powers of Israel’s High Court following Monday’s ruling that upended official policy concerning asylum seekers by ruling legislation illegal.
The court ruled, in the wake of a petition filed by six human rights groups, that the law allowing asylum seekers to be jailed for up to one year without trial is illegal. The court further declared that that Israel must shutter the ‘open’ Holot detention facility, where asylum seekers who entered Israel illegally are detained for indefinite periods with no grounds for release.
The Knesset will now embark on what Israeli news portal ynet has dubbed a ‘fight’ against the High Court. Already next week, at the opening of the Knesset’s winter session, the ministerial legislative body will debate a proposal by Ayelet Shaked (Jewish Home) to amend the Basic Law: Human Dignity and Liberty in order to abridge the court’s power to overturn legislation.
Basic laws fulfill constitutional functions in Israel, a country without such a foundational document.
Faction chairperson for the Jewish Home Shaked further wishes to alter the way in which judges are selected to ensure a ‘balance’ between so-called judicial activists and others.
Outgoing Interior Minister Gideon Sa’ar, who guided the legislation struck down, noted that ‘This is a mistake, leaving Israel without tools to deal with the phenomenon of illegal infiltration. We need to re-examine the High Court’s authority’ on such issues’.
Coalition chairman Yariv Levin (Likud) said the decision is “post-Zionist and undermines Israel’s existence as a Jewish state and tramples on the Knesset’s authority.”
The High Court justices “despise the basic principle that Israel is a Jewish state with a democratic government,” and the Knesset must “wake up and act quickly and determinedly to change the way judges are selected…so that we get judges with values who are committed to the future of Israel,” Levin said.
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