Photo Credit: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90
Constitution, Law and Justice Committee Chairman MK Simcha Rothman keeps opposition members in line, May 1, 2023.

Constitution, Law and Justice Committee Chairman MK Simcha Rothman on Wednesday told Reshet Bet radio in response to the Biden administration’s criticism of the Netanyahu government’s legislations that “the reasonability clause is not relevant to Biden,” and “if this is the new policy of the State of Israel, that each time an American president dislikes an Israeli minister, the minister should be fired – then we are not an independent state but a banana republic.”

“In my opinion, this is unreasonable,” Rothman quipped.


Rothman added that there’s no reason to alter the bill restricting the scope of the reasonability clause, and it should be voted on in its current form. This means that the courts will not be able to disqualify a government appointment because it seems unreasonable to the judges, even if it is completely legal.

Supreme Court Justice Noam Solberg proposed that the court should be barred from employing the reasonability clause regarding decisions by the political echelon, but could use it against decisions of the professional staff.

Many on the right have pointed out that the court still has a plethora of reasons at its disposal to nix an appointment, including nepotism, lack of qualifications, failure to attain an appointments committee’s approval, and the list goes on and on. The only difference between those and the reasonability argument is that for the latter, the judges don’t have to work too hard to provide a believable excuse.

As to the vote on the makeup of the committee to appoint judges, which continued on Wednesday morning, two weeks after it had been suspended by PM Netanyahu, Rothman said: “I believe that there is no justification for the judges to have a veto on who gets in, and therefore I believe that this committee should be replaced by a new composition of members as soon as possible, according to law.”

Rothman and Justice Minister Yariv Levin have submitted a bill to alter the committee to appoint judges by eliminating the members of the bar association and giving the coalition a majority. A new option has emerged since the end of the winter session, whereby the judges, too, would be dropped from the committee, which would then include 4 coalition and 4 opposition members, who would negotiate the selection of judges with a simple majority of 5.

Here’s a funny tidbit: the man who attacked Rothman’s views on the reasonability clause most vociferously was Deputy Attorney General Gil Limon, who asserted that “the most serious damage” caused by restricting the reasonability argument “concerns the status of the gatekeepers. The reasonability clause is an important guarantee for the appointment of gatekeepers and making it impossible to fire them for political reasons.”

It so happens that Limon landed his position after having served as the senior advisor of his good friend, Avichai Mandelblit, the Attorney General at the time. Somehow, with all the reasonability clauses on the planet at their disposal, the justices didn’t find it necessary to prevent one of the most shameful shows of nepotism in the country’s recent history.

Stay tuned, I’ll let you know as soon as Israel graduates to the status of a banana republic.


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