According to the news in the Israeli press, the Supreme Court announced that it will hold a hearing to consider a petition demanding that Netanyahu be removed from the prime minister position, on the grounds of “violation of the conflict of interest agreement”.
Judge Ruth Ronnen has ordered a recent review of the request by a panel of judges. It is not known when the delegation will meet.
The petition, filed by a group of activists called the “Democratic Trench”, including former Chief of Staff Dan Halutz, who opposes the government’s controversial judicial arrangement, argues that Netanyahu violated his “conflict of interest agreement” with the Supreme Court.
The conflict of interest agreement Prime Minister Netanyahu signed with the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court in 2020 includes a commitment not to interfere in legislative matters on the grounds that it could affect ongoing corruption cases against him.
On the other hand, Netanyahu made statements in the past months that he would be involved in the controversial judicial regulation, after which Attorney General Gali Baharav-Miara evaluated that the Prime Minister’s statements and further intervention in the legislation were “illegal and violated the conflict of interest agreement”.
Judicial regulation and Netanyahu’s corruption case
The “judicial reform” announced by Israeli Minister of Justice Yariv Levin on January 5 includes changes such as limiting the powers of the Supreme Court and the power to have a say in judicial appointments.
The extreme right-wing government led by Netanyahu insists on passing the regulation, which the political and social opposition considers a “blow to democracy”, despite the mass protests and strikes that have been going on throughout the country for months.
Israel’s Attorney General’s Office accused Prime Minister Netanyahu of bribery, corruption and abuse of power in 2019. The case against Netanyahu is still pending before the Israeli Central Court in Jerusalem.
Under Israeli law, the prime minister does not have to resign unless the Supreme Court formally charges him. However, this situation led to 5 consecutive elections in Israel in 4 years.
The last elections brought Netanyahu back to power in the last days of 2022, at the head of the cabinet described as the “most right-wing government” in Israeli history.