Before the Knesset's final vote on the Reasonableness Law's second and third readings we raised concerns with the Attorney General and the legal advisor to the Knesset regarding significant legal issues in the proposal, ultimately leading to our appeal to the Supreme Court.
The Reasonableness Law plays a critical role in safeguarding against abuses of power and human rights violations. It faces a significant threat from the proposed amendment to the Basic Law: The Judiciary, presented by Committee Chairman MK Simcha Rothman. This amendment aims to prevent the courts from invalidating decisions made by the government, ministers, and public officials based on their unreasonableness. If approved, this amendment will significantly weaken Israel's democratic foundations and human rights, removing a crucial barrier against an overreaching government.
The Reasonableness Law is vital in scrutinizing decisions affecting essential public interests, such as environmental quality, urban planning, governance, and the rule of law. By abolishing grounds based on reasonableness, the government will gain unchecked authority and be shielded from judicial scrutiny, endangering citizens' protection from tyranny and undermining the separation of powers. The amendment can lead to political purges of watchdogs who protect against human rights violations and erode citizens' ability to challenge decisions that neglect important considerations through legal means.
Supporters of abolishing reasonableness claim that it empowers the courts to excessively interfere with the government's work. However, this claim is unfounded. The courts emphasize that their role is not to replace the government's policy preferences but to intervene only in extreme cases where decisions lack reasonable justification. They primarily assess the considerations taken into account and their weight in making decisions, invalidating them only if essential considerations were ignored, and even then, only in exceptional circumstances.
Preserving the Reasonableness Law is crucial to protecting human rights, environmental quality, the integrity of public services, the right to a fair process, and access to justice for all citizens.
The potential ramifications of abolishing reasonableness are concerning, and it is vital to uphold the Reasonableness Law to maintain Israel's democratic values and citizens' rights. Despite this the Reasonable Law was passed on July 24, 2023.
Appeal of the Association for Civil Rights, 7/24/2023 (Hebrew)
The appeal of the Association for Civil Rights to the Chairman of the Constitution Committee, June 21, 2023 (Hebrew)