Supreme Court president attacks ‘bad and dangerous‘ override bill

Supreme Court President Esther Hayut attacked a giving the Knesset the power to override the Supreme Court during a speech at the President‘s Residence on Monday.

"The significance of the override bill is simple – the removal of legal protection for human rights based on [Israel‘s] Basic Law, human dignity and freedom, and annulling the checks on legislating bills which harm these rights without the court‘s ability to offer assistance to those affected," said Hayut.

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President Reuven Rivlin also commented on the controversy surrounding the bill at the ceremony.

"It is forbidden to change the rules of the game and the principles of democracy. They guard the balance between the minority and the majority… I believe that in these sorts of sensitive issues, relating to changing the rules of the democratic game, agreement rather than determination is preferable," said Rivlin.

Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked responded to comments made at the ceremony, saying that Israeli democracy is in good health.

"I am sorry to disappoint the eulogizers, but go outside and see. Israeli democracy is alive, breathing and kicking, and stronger than all its critics and all its eulogizers. And believe me, it can contain different opinions and approaches," said Shaked.

The Ministerial Committee on Legislation voted on Sunday to give the Knesset the power to override the Supreme Court when it vetoes a law, as long as 61 lawmakers vote for such a decision.

A Knesset vote on the bill will not take place on Wednesday, because the coalition does not have the votes to pass it, a Bayit Yehudi source confirmed Monday.

Negotiations have been ongoing between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Supreme Court President Esther Hayut and other key parties in an attempt to reach a compromise on the issue.

Yonah Jeremy Bob and Lahav Harkov contributed to this story.