Firebrand reformer MK Danny Danon (Likud), the co-author of a slate of recent bills seeking judicial reform, said on Sunday he was confident Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu would reverse course and support the bills in the future.
"I understand the reasons the prime minister decided to reject the bill at this time," Dannon said, shortly after his bill aiming to institute the long-established Western common-law premise of legal standing in Israel's courts was flatly rejected by the Ministerial Committee on Legislation.
"I am still sure that he will [eventually] agree to it because we have to find a way to stop the disrespect and improper conduct that takes place at the High Court by plaintiffs with political agendas, a large majority of whom show hostility toward Israel and use Israeli democracy as a way of harming the state," Danon added.
Danon and his fellow nationalist lawmakers supporting judicial reform are concerned because left-wing organizations, fueled by foreign funds, are using Israel's courts to wage lawfare on the Jewish state from within. The legal standing bill sought to stop petitions to the High Court by third-parties who are not affected personally by the construction of homes on land in Judea and Samaria, or suffer from a particular law or government policy.
Netanyahu's vocal opposition – which Knesset observers say sealed the legal-standing bill's fate – came after Intelligence Minister Dan Meridor (Likud) threatened to quit if any of the current judicial reform bills are passed into law. Likud Minister Benny Begin wrote an article against the bills as well, as did Knesset Speaker Rivlin. These three are considered the "old guard" of the Likud, while those sponsoring the bills are the young MK's.
Netanyahu said he would oppose any law he felt would "impair the independence of Israel's courts."
On Sunday, however, Netanyahu at once vowed to protect the courts while admitting the need for reform, saying Israel's democracy has "distortions" that needed to be addressed. Netanyahu did not address how he would repair the unspecified "distortions" to which he referred.
Danon is also the co-author of a bill that would require prospective Supreme Court justices to be vetted by a Knesset committee. Netanyahu has expressed his opposition to that bill as well.