Knesset Speaker warns High Court not to debate Nationality Law

Edelstein says Knesset will pass override bill if High Court debates Nationality Law. 'This is a battle for the Knesset's sovereignty.'

Tzvi Lev,

Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein
Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein
Arutz Sheva

Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein warned the High Court not to debate the Nationality Law and predicted that the Knesset would pass legislation overring the High Court should it do so.

Israel passed the law, which was sponsored by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s Likud party, in July. It drew criticism for relegating Arabic to non-official language status, expressing support for increased Jewish settlement and promoting the status of Jewish religion in legal matters.

Recent reports said that the High Court would debate the Nationality Law, the first time in Israel's history that the court allowed itself to debate a quasi-constitutional Basic Law.

Speaking at a cultural event in Holon, Edelstein warned that the Knesset would pass a law overriding High Court decisions should the court even decide to debate the Nationality Law.

"There was a petition to the High Court of Justice, and I thought that the petitioners should be thrown out of court," said Edelstein. "Suddenly, I hear about a panel of 11 justices that will hear a Basic Law passed by the Knesset.

"I say unequivocally - if the High Court of Justice intervenes in the Basic Law, the next Knesset will enact the passage of an override clause. I have no doubt about it. It will be a battle for the sovereignty of the Knesset and for the proper rule in the State of Israel," said Edelstein.

Edelstein's sentiments have been echoed by Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked and Tourism Minister Yariv Levin, who have both warned of a constitutional crisis should the High Court scuttle the Nationality Law.

"Striking down the law is dangerous and could bring down the entire system... It would end the separation of powers," said Shaked in October. “The court is not a partner to setting the constitution. The Knesset sets this and the court only rules in that light,"

I call on the High Court justices to think hard and do not take us to the depths that no democracy should drop to" added Levin. "Reject the petitions up-front and immediately."




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