Coalition Chairman Ofir Katz (Likud) on Sunday submitted––together with the leaders of all the coalition factions––a bill designed to prevent the Attorney General from declaring the prime minister “incapacitated.” The bill was submitted ahead of an expected hearing at the High Court of Justice on a petition demanding the removal of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu from office.
A week ago, the High Court ordered Attorney general Gali Baharav-Miara and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to respond within a month to the petition of the Movement for Quality Government in Israel, which demands that Netanyahu be declared incapacitated over his involvement in the judicial reform (High Court, AG, Planning Coup D’état by Declaring Netanyahu ‘Incapacitated’).
According to the Knesset website, the term “incapacitated” describes a situation in which a government official cannot fulfill his duties for certain reasons. The lack of ability to fulfill these duties can be temporary if the office bearer will return to fulfill his position, or permanent if it is clear that the office bearer will not return to fulfill his duties.
The new bill states that a Prime Minister can be declared incapacitated only due to a physical or mental inability to discharge his duties. It also states that the announcement of the PM’s incapacity will be made by the Prime Minister himself or by a vote of 75% of the government, and in rare cases, the Knesset Speaker will submit the decision to the Knesset plenum for approval which will require a 90-vote majority.
The coalition party leaders said the bill “comes to prevent the abuse of the existing law by thwarting the will of the voter, to increase certainty and stability.”
They added that “the meaning of the declaration of incapacity, when this is contrary to the Prime Minister’s opinion, and when he is physically and mentally fit, is the unseating of a serving prime minister who was elected by the people, and in practice constitutes an annulment of the election results and the democratic process.”
Coalition Chairman Katz said, “It is inconceivable that in a democratic country, a legal interpretation that has no basis in the law will be allowed to carry out a move which is the equivalence of a coup. The people and their representatives appoint the prime minister, and only the people and their representatives can change their choice.”
To give you an idea of how outlandish the proposed incapacity claim is, Haaretz quoted Dr. Amir Fuchs of the Israel Democracy Institute, who opined that the fact that the current law sets out provisions regarding the incapacity of a Prime Minister over medical reasons only, emphasizes the fact that there are circumstances for impeachment that are not medical.
This Mad Hatter interpretation of reality only proves even more strongly how urgent the judicial reform is, to protect Israel against judges who have lost their sense of reality. The very fact that Supreme Court Justice Daphne Barak-Erez even entertained this ludicrous petition instead of throwing it out on the spot means the court is on the warpath to protect its illegally obtained privileges.
Last month, in response to petitions that cited Netanyahu’s “conflict of interests” that should prevent him from serving as prime minister, Netanyahu told the High Court: “The Attorney General is a position holder who was not elected by the public, and there is no possibility or logic to grant her the far-reaching powers of removing a sitting Prime Minister. This, while the legislator chose precisely not to allow an indictment against a serving MK to prevent him from serving as prime minister.”