Supreme Court chief justice Esther Hayut
Supreme Court chief justice Esther Hayut Photo by Oren Ben Hakoon/POOL

The Israeli Supreme Court convened Tuesday morning for hearings on a petition challenging the establishment of the new position of “alternate prime minister” - one of the basic cornerstones of the current coalition government.

Left-wing organizations petitioned the court to strike down the Knesset’s change to the Basic Law – Israel’s proto-constitution – which enabled the government to appoint Blue and White chairman Benny Gantz as Alternate Prime Minister.

The creation of the new position was a core condition of the Likud and Blue and White in agreeing to form a unity government with the Likud. The new position allows Gantz and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to share power throughout the entire duration of the three-year coalition agreement, with Netanyahu rotating out from as premier after 18 months, becoming alternate prime minister, switching positions with Gantz.

If the court rules in favor of the petition and strikes down the change to the Basic Law, it is widely expected that the government will dissolve the Knesset and send Israel to snap elections.

The Likud has in the past stated that if the court intervenes, the government will be dissolved and new elections called.

A three-judge panel was convened to deliberate on the petition. Led by chief justice Esther Hayut, the panel also includes Hanan Melcer and Neal Hendel.

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