JERUSALEM (JTA) — A bill that limited some public groups from petitioning Israel’s Supreme Court was voted down in a Knesset committee.
The Ministerial Committee on Legislation on Sunday unanimously voted down the legislation.
Lawmakers Danny Danon and Yariv Levin of the Likud Party sponsored the bill, which was opposed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the party’s leader. Netanyahu said the courts "are one of the foundation stones of Israeli democracy."
"This is not a rotten institution, as someone said," the prime minister said Sunday at the start of the weekly Cabinet meeting. "This is an important and healthy institution that is vital for the continuation of our democratic life here; therefore, we will preserve the courts. This does not contradict the need to correct distortions that have entered into our public institutions over the years — and we will correct those responsibly, sagaciously, seriously and without getting carried away."
The bill prohibited human rights groups not registered in Israel and whose main activities are not in Israel from filing suit with the Supreme Court. A group also would not be permitted to file a lawsuit on behalf of an individual unless the individual also filed suit. Groups that petitioned the court also would be required to report funding sources from abroad.
The measure still could be brought to the Knesset floor this week for a preliminary reading, but it unlikely to pass without the committee’s approval.