Observation: Cocking of Legislative Gun in First Vote Can Expedite Rapid
Conclusion of Compromise Judicial Reform
Dr. Aaron Lerner, February 20, 2023
As Israelis, we have a lot on our plate these days. Amidst all the tumult
and division over the first votes on Judicial Reform, the leader of the
opposition, MK Lapid, met with PM Netanyahu this afternoon to discuss
dramatic nuclear developments in Iran.
Those familiar with the legislative process know that the wording of laws,
especially controversial ones, undergoes significant revision between the
first vote and the second and third votes. Furthermore, the wording of laws,
especially controversial ones, before the first reading contains space for
good faith compromise.
However, many good Israelis are concerned that what was passed tonight by
the Knesset will also be pushed through in the final votes without the
A "window of opportunity for chaos" opened when judicial reform was first
proposed. Returning the law to the committee for revision before the final
votes is a milestone on the path to closing this "window".
With the legislative gun "cocked", I sincerely hope that the Knesset
opposition leadership will join in earnest to hammer out laws that can enjoy
broad acceptance. There is much room for optimism, as evidenced by the
proposed set of legislation for judicial reform prepared by a team of top
Israeli legal experts, described in Dr. Yehuda Yifrach's weekly article in
the Makor Rishon newspaper. Dr. Yifrach, the only right-winger in the group,
was pleased to report that "I couldn't believe that a document would come
out that I could endorse 95 percent of it, but the miracle happened... If I
were the Minister of Justice or the Chairman of the Knesset Constitution,
Law, and Justice Committee, this document (with minor adjustments) would be
my opening proposal and not the compromise wording after the fact."
Time is of the essence. If the opposition members of the Knesset
Constitution, Law, and Justice Committee refuse to participate in the
process, the onus is on MK Simcha Rothman, the Chairman of the Committee, to
lead the revision of the laws as if the opposition were participating.
The sooner that the texts of the final compromise versions of the laws are
made public, the sooner that good Israelis with genuine and legitimate
concerns can be reassured that their nightmare has passed.
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