Supreme Court rejects petition against Netanyahu forming gvmt

'Petition before us reveals no grounds for intervention in decision of President of State,' judges Barak, Elron, Gruskoff rule.

Mordechai Sones ,

Netanyahu and Rivlin
Netanyahu and Rivlin
Chaim Tzach/GPO

Supreme Court Justices Dafna Barak, Erez Yosef Elron, and Ofer Gruskoff today rejected a petition filed against the decision of President Reuven Rivlin to impose forming the government on PM Binyamin Netanyahu.

The petition, filed by Attorney Shachar Ben Meir and the Movement for Integrity, claimed that placing the task of forming the government on Binyamin Netanyahu was "unconstitutional and harms the hard core of the rule of law in the State of Israel."

In light of the immunity granted to the President of the State in accordance with article 13 (a) of the Basic Law: The President of the State, the petitioners emphasized that their petition was not directed against the President himself, but against his decision via indirect attack.

The justices rejected the petitioners' arguments and ruled that President Rivlin made his decision in a proper manner, after fulfilling all statutory requirements.

"Considering the nature of the authority we're dealing with, the petition before us reveals no grounds for intervening in the decision of the President of the State," wrote Judge Gruskoff. "There's no dispute that the President followed the provisions of the law, met with the heads of the factions, and exercised his discretion, and placed forming the government on the Knesset Member he believed the chances of forming the government were the highest. In so doing, he properly exercised the authority vested in him, and we saw no sense or reason to intervene in it."

According to Justice Gruskoff, "In practice, the request of the petitioners is that the President of the State had an obligation to ignore the election results and the recommendations of the heads of the factions, and to determine that Mr. Binyamin Netanyahu was disqualified from serving as prime minister due to the serious indictment against him. This position of the petitioners cannot be accepted: It does not correspond to the nature of the institution of the presidency (which is diplomatic and essentially non-political); It is inconsistent with the role of the President of the State in the process of forming the government (focusing on locating the Knesset Member with the highest chances of forming a government); It is inconsistent with the information according to which the President of the State is required to formulate his decision (the positions of the various factions regarding the candidate they recommend to serve as prime minister); It is inconsistent with the process of democratic elections for which the president's authority is an integral part (in which the 21 members of the Knesset were elected, including Mr. Benjamin Netanyahu). In short, it is mixing apples and oranges.

"In conclusion, this isn't an unusual case where exceptions may be made to consider judicial intervention in the decision of the President of the State, and therefore the petition before us must be rejected for this reason, without asking the Respondents to respond to the various arguments raised by the petition on its merits. Since no response was requested and under the circumstances there is no order for court expenses," the judge signed the decision.