Report: Haredi factions to oppose bill to deport infiltrators

MKs angry that bill overriding court decision on deportation of illegal infiltrators to pass, while haredi draft override bill does not.

Tzvi Lev,

Africans demand 'rights' outside Supreme Court in Jerusalem
Africans demand 'rights' outside Supreme Court in Jerusalem
Flash 90

A new Jewish Home-sponsored bill overriding the High Court's ruling barring Israel from deporting illegal Sudanese, Somalian, and Eritrean infiltrators is in danger of being scuttled by the haredi United Torah Judaism faction, according to a report Thursday.

According to Kan, UTJ will vote against the bill when it reaches the Ministerial Committee for Legislation on Sunday. Sources from within the party say that it is inconceivable that the coalition will override a High Court ruling regarding illegal infiltrators, while refusing to deal with last year's decision that struck down an amendment to the Draft Law protecting military deferments for yeshiva students.

The override bill would alter Israel’s Basic Law: Human Dignity and Liberty, explicitly empowering the Knesset to overrule the Supreme Court and reenact laws nullified by the Court. However, the bill will only apply to High Court ruling preventing Israel from deporting the tens of thousands of illegal African immigrants.

While the coalition had wanted an expanded bill that would apply to all High Court decision, Kulanu faction head Moshe Kahlon has adamantly opposed any legislative steps that would decrease the High Court's power.

"We will oppose this proposal," said UTJ MK Yaakov Asher. "We will not accept an override bill by invitation. It can not be that in cases where there is political pressure on Kahlon or pressure from street demonstrations, as in the story of the infiltrators, then there will an override bill and in other things, there will not be."

The High Court of Justice had ruled in September 2016 that the exemptions granted to haredim are discriminatory against the communities who do not receive exemptions, giving the coalition a year to legislate an alternative. The coalition has not managed to come to an agreement regarding a new Draft Bill despite being granted a four-month extension by the High Court that expires in December.

The court also threw out in 2017 the first Infiltrator Law, aimed at deporting thousands of Eritrean, Somalian, and Sudanese illegal immigrants living in Israel. In 2018, the court froze implementation of a new Infiltrator Law, and in April, ordered the government to release more than 200 infiltrators who had been detained for refusing to leave the country.

While Israel lacks a constitution, the Knesset has passed a series of Basic Laws which some Israeli jurists, including former Supreme Court chief justice Aharon Barak, have treated as the country’s de facto constitution.

Since the 1990s, the Supreme Court has taken an activist position regarding the judiciary’s role, assuming the right of judicial supremacy and the ability to strike down laws passed by the Knesset and compel the government to adhere to its rulings.




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