Attorney Aner Helman, representing Attorney General Gali Baharav-Miara before the High Court of Justice in Thursday’s hearing over the incapacity amendment to the Basic Law: The Judiciary, told the panel of 11 judges that “The AG has never had the authority to declare a Prime Minister incapacitated.”
“The government determines that a prime minister is incapacitated, the same body in which the Knesset invested its trust,” Helman noted, adding that “the AG does not think that a prime minister who violates his conflict-of-interest arrangement deserves to be incapacitated.”
This was a crazy-making line of attack if ever there had been one because the entire legislative move to fix the incapacity clause was driven by Prime Minister Netanyahu’s fear that the AG would declare him incapacitated over his involvement with judicial reform legislation in violation of his agreement with the high court that allowed him to run for office and later to forge a majority government despite his three pending criminal indictments.
But as soon as Helman uttered his explosive statement, he went right ahead and treated the incapacity legislation as illegitimate. He announced that the AG’s position is against the immediate implementation of the amendment: “Why did the law go into effect immediately?” he asked, and answered, “So that the prime minister could do what the AG said he must not do.”
The law is bad, according to Helman, but the AG does not think that the prime minister who violated his conflict-of-interest arrangement should be declared incapacitated.
Aryeh Eldad who hosts an early evening show on 103FM said that in recent years right-wing Israelis have learned that the AG thinks that incapacity should be used not only for health reasons but also for the PM’s being too busy with his trial or making extreme and unreasonable decisions. “It seems to me that this could be understood from her answers in previous discussions on the issue of incapacity,” he said.
“Now it is clear,” Eldad continued. “Since this is what she said, and since the same degree of trust prevails between the Prime Minister and the AG as between Israel and Iran – Netanyahu was sure that she was plotting to oust him and ordered the incapacity amendment to be enacted. And the AG demands that the law be annulled because after all, she thinks she never had the authority to declare the incapacity of a prime minister.”
Eldad then suggested: “Could some wise person bring Netanyahu and Baharav Miyara into the same room and give them both two terrible slaps on the face and ask them: Are you crazy? You dragged the whole country into such a pandemonium over nothing?”
We will update the report on the court’s hearing later.