Photo Credit: Yonatan Sindel & Tomer Neuberg / Flash90
Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein vs. Supreme Court President Esther Hayut

After Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein refusal to obey the High Court of Justice’s decision that he must set a date for a Knesset session intended to replace him, the 5 High Court justices unanimously ordered Edelstein to convene the plenary by Wednesday and hold the debate requested by the center-left-Arabs bloc of 61 MKs, which will result in his replacement.

On Monday evening, Edelstein replied to the High Court’s call by saying that “with all due respect, to the extent that the honorable Court sets an ultimatum before myself and the Knesset, requiring me to hold the debate ‘no later than March 25, 2020,’ I am unable to comply. After all, this would mean that the Knesset’s agenda is determined by the Supreme Court and not by the Speaker of the Knesset, to whom this role is assigned.”

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Edelstein concluded his lengthy reply, saying: “Therefore, I believe that the court’s intervention in the Knesset Speaker’s discretion to determine the plenary agenda and to bring to a vote the subject of his election is a precedential intervention in the political agenda, and in the Speaker’s discretion, and is incorrect in these times. Due to the special circumstances, at this stage I find it difficult to set an exact date, but I intend to add the issue to the Knesset’s agenda as the political situation becomes clear. Hopefully, this will happen in the shortest period of time.”

Supreme Court President Justice Esther Hayut, severely attacked Edelstein in Monday night’s ruling, saying: “The continued refusal to allow a vote in the Knesset for the election of a permanent Knesset speaker strives to undermine the democratic process. It clearly harms the status of the Knesset as an independent branch of government as well as the process of the transition of government, and as the days since the inauguration of the 23rd Knesset are passing by, these things are validated further.”

“Therefore,” the Court President said, “there is no escape from the conclusion that under these circumstances, this is one of those exceptional cases where this Court is required to intervene in order to prevent harm to our parliamentary system. Which is why the Knesset Speaker must convene the Knesset plenum as soon as possible for the purpose of electing a permanent Speaker for the 23rd Knesset, no later than Wednesday, March 25, 2020.”

Edelstein is reportedly furious at the High Court panel of five justices, especially since they obviously didn’t bother to read his lengthy and well annotated response. It was clear they had their decision ready, never mind what the leader of the sovereign branch of government had to say. How do we know they didn’t even read Edelstein’s response? Journalist Amit Segal suggested that the High Court must have the fastest typist in the world: at 9:09 PM, Edelstein delivered his response to the court; at 9:50 PM, the high Court announced a ruling would be issued in a few minutes; and at 10:09, the 19-page ruling was delivered. They call her Magic Fingers for nothing…

Tourism Minister Yariv Levin (Likud) on Tuesday repeated his attack on the High Court, accusing the justices of leading Israel to anarchy and of acting as if the state belonged to them.

“If the President of the Supreme Court were to come to the Knesset building together with the court guards and enters the plenary, take the speaker’s gavel and manage the meeting, I suppose there would be a big cry and everyone would understand what was going on,” Levin said bitterly.

Meanwhile, Blue&White senior officials are saying the country may have to go to fourth elections, judging by the harsh remarks made by senior Likud officials (Justice Minister Amir Ohana was also furious) against the High Court. Gantz et al say they just cannot enter a coalition government with people who hate judicial activism this much.

Incidentally, if there is a fourth election, the polls predict that Likud’s electoral situation would return to what it was in the 2015 elections, with 62 seats going to the rightwing-Haredi bloc, without Lieberman.

As you may recall, the fiery hatred of Moshe Ya’alon, one of the Blue&White leaders, for Netanyahu, stems from the fact that Netanyahu fired him from the post of defense minister, and gave it to Liberman to increase the coalition from 62 to 67.

The fiery hatred of Yair Lapid, also one of the Blue&White leaders, against Netanyahu, stems from the fact that Netanyahu fired him and Tzipi Livni before the 2015 elections.

The fiery hatred that Tzipi Livni has for Netanyahu is not something special, Tzipi hates lots of people.

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