The discussion in the Supreme Court regarding the Incapacity law concluded this evening (Thursday) after approximately 8 hours. The parties will now await the judges' decision on the matter, and the verdict is expected to be announced in the coming months.
During the discussion, the parties addressed, among other things, the question of whether the government's legal advisor has the authority to declare Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in incapacitation. At first, the representative of the Attorney General's Office, Aner Helman, stated that it was not within her jurisdiction. However, later on, he reversed his statement and said that the possibility of declaring Netanyahu incapacitated does fall under the authority of the legal counsel.
Initially, the President of the Supreme Court, Esther Hayut, asked Helman, "Does the Attorney General's Office see eye to eye with the Prime Minister regarding the fact that due to a conflict of interests, the Prime Minister is not disqualified from serving as a minister?" In response, Helman stated that she does not believe that the breach of the conflict of interest leads to incapacitation. Furthermore, he added that "since forever, the government's legal advisor has never had the authority to declare the Prime Minister incapacitated. According to the law, it is the government that determines whether the Prime Minister is incapacitated, not the Attorney General's Office."
However, after a break in the discussion, Helman changed his stance and argued that "it is impossible to rule out all possibilities in advance, so it should not seem to be that I said that a conflict of interest cannot lead to the Prime Minister's incapacitation. Let no one ever say that it is impossible due to conflicting interests to declare the Prime Minister incapacitated." After a pause in the discussion, Helman clarified himself and said, "A conflict of interest can lead to the Prime Minister's incapacitation, but only in extreme cases."
The government's lawyer: The law is no different from the laws of the previous government
Even earlier, the Chairman of the Coalition and the initiator of the amendment to the Incapacitation Law, Member of Knesset Ofir Katz, addressed the judges' allegations that there seems to be room for interpretation regarding the law's applicability, whether it will come into effect now or in the next Knesset. According to him: "As the initiator of the bill and as the chairman of the committee that managed the legislative process, I and my committee colleagues had no doubt that we were legislating a law that takes effect immediately. There is no room for an interpretation that contradicts our explicit position."
During the debate, Attorney Michael Rabilo, who independently represents the government's position, challenged the panel of judges: "There was a vote on Lapid's reservation, which demanded the law be applied only from the next government. It was rejected 62-44, and you did not vote in a fourth reading in the Knesset."
He also said: "The personalism you are claiming is no less serious than the personalism in the legislation of the replacement government (Netanyahu-Gantz government). They determined then that a prime minister cannot fire certain ministers, the High Court approved the law."