Knesset plenum
Knesset plenumYonatan Sindel/Flash 90

The Knesset on Monday night approved the first reading of the law to reduce the cause of reasonableness.

The law was approved by a majority of 64 to 56.

All members of the coalition voted in favor of the law, while all members of the opposition voted against it. After the vote, the members of the coalition applauded, while the members of the opposition shouted, "Shame."

The "Reasonableness Standard Bill" is an amendment to the Basic Law: The Judiciary, that would block Israel's courts from applying what is known as the "reasonableness standard" to decisions made by elected officials.

The reasonableness standard allows for judicial review against government decisions that are deemed beyond the scope of what a responsible and reasonable authority would undertake.

Minister Ofir Sofer welcomed the approval of the law and said, "Tonight, we passed an important amendment to the cause of reasonableness in the first reading. An amendment that will allow the government ministers to implement the policy for which we were elected. I congratulate Minister Yariv Levin and the chairman of the Constitution Committee, Simcha Rothman, and call on the members of the opposition to behave responsibly and heed the call of the Minister of Justice to negotiate for the benefit of the State of Israel."

Minister Itamar Ben Gvir said, "We started by correcting the cause of reasonableness, as part of the important reform to correct the entire judicial system. The time has come to return the power to the public and stop the rule of the junta. Correcting the cause of reasonableness is an extremely important step, but we must pass the entire reform. Changing the Judicial Selection Committee, the cancellation of the Override Clause, changing the powers of the Attorney General. Bringing democracy back to Israel."

Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich commented on his Twitter account on the approval of the law and wrote, "64 supporters against 56 opponents to the reduction of the cause of reasonableness. Tonight, democracy won."

He added, "Congratulations and a good night to the people of Israel. We will continue, with God’s help, with the second and third readings."

MK Dan Illouz said, "This is a small step for reform, a big step for the State of Israel."

Former Prime Minister and opposition leader Yair Lapid blasted the approval of the legislation and said, "Like thieves in the night, the government has now passed the cancellation of the cause of reasonableness and proved that nothing interests it except for anti-democratic corruption laws."

He added, "The fight is not over. We will never give up on the values of the State of Israel. Millions of Israelis will take to the streets tomorrow with the Israeli flag to say: We will not give up."

Yisrael Beytenu chairman MK Avigdor Liberman said following the vote, "The law to cancel the cause of reasonableness that the coalition has now passed in the first reading is clearly unreasonable and causes serious damage to democracy."

"The law is intended to return Aryeh Deri to the position of Minister of the Interior and Deputy Prime Minister, thus stabilizing the coalition for another long period of time. It forms the basis for the possibility of firing the Attorney General, and in general turning all public servants into personal servants of Netanyahu and his family."

Liberman continued, "It is clear that the cause of reasonableness is only one step in Netanyahu's salami method, on the way to passing the laws of the legal revolution in the winter session, in which he will work to complete the takeover of the judicial system and the Central Elections Committee."

The chairwoman of the Labor Party, MK Merav Michaeli, blasted the approval of the law and said, "The government of the regime coup carried out an attack on Israeli democracy tonight. It is lying to the public and trampling on democracy. The protest will give the victorious answer of the Israeli public."

She added, "Israel will not be a dictatorship - democracy will win. It will defeat you too."

The vote was preceded by a heated discussion, which began with the remarks of the chairman of the Constitution Committee, MK Simcha Rothman, who presented the proposal.

"It is balanced, responsible, and significantly different from what should have been enacted," Rothman claimed. "The cause of reasonableness is a cause that the State of Israel managed to do without for many years, and still during the dark years, believe it or not, the sun rose every morning."

The head of the opposition, Yair Lapid, sharply criticized the bill and attacked the coalition in the debate in the Knesset. "Who are you trying to deceive? This law says that you can appoint a convicted criminal as a minister, issue arrest warrants for anyone who opposes this government and will allow you to fire the Attorney General so that you can arrange a plea deal for your boss."

"What does this have to do with the livelihood of the citizens of Israel, their security, our relations with the world, that you are destroying? You are destroying the Israeli alliance for the petty reasons of corruptness," said Lapid.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Justice, Yariv Levin, made clear in his speech before the vote that "the government is not above the law. It must act only within the law. In accordance with the powersgranted to it, with due process, without conflict of interest."

"Any action that is not carried out in this manner, and I emphasize - every action, has been and will continue to be subject to full judicial review. By the same token, the government also has powers and responsibility. It was elected to set policy and bring about its implementation," he added.

At the end of his remarks, Levin called Lapid to come to his office immediately after the vote in order to discuss and reach agreements without intermediaries. Lapid replied that if Levin had stopped the legislation immediately, he would have gone into the room with him.