Top court holds key hearing on law shielding Netanyahu from removal from office

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(Worthy News) – The High Court of Justice was on Thursday holding a pivotal hearing on petitions against a law passed earlier this year that prevents the court from ordering the removal of a sitting prime minister, in what could herald a new phase in the hard-right government’s showdown against what it claims is an overly powerful judicial system.

In March, the coalition passed an amendment to the quasi-constitutional Basic Law: The Government, eliminating the High Court’s theoretical option — never before used — of ordering a prime minister to step down. The law stipulated that this power will only lie with the government and the Knesset based on medical grounds, and requires the support of 75 percent of cabinet ministers and of 80 lawmakers in the 120-member parliament.

The law was passed as Israeli society was undergoing a schism over the government’s judicial overhaul plan and amid speculation that the court or Attorney General Gali Baharav-Miara could order Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s recusal if he overtly involved himself in the issue, as this would violate a conflict of interest agreement he had signed due to his ongoing criminal trial.

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