Reduced Conditions for Prime Minister’s Impeachment Harm Democracy and Increase Risk of Corruption

>> Read the full position paper  

This position paper is presented to the Knesset’s Special Committee for the Amendment of Basic Law: The Government, which is discussing ways to restrict the conditions for the impeachment of a prime minister.

The proposed amendment restricts impeachment to cases where physical or mental incapacity prevent a prime minister from fulfilling his duties, and stipulates that the authority to declare this incapacity will lie with the prime minister himself or with the government, if approved by three-quarters of the ministers. The government’s decision will be valid for three days, at which point it will be submitted to the Knesset House Committee for endorsement by a two-thirds majority. If the government’s decision is due to health reasons, the House Committee will also factor in a medical opinion. Any extension of more than seven days, if suggested by the House Committee, will be put to a vote by the plenum and will require a majority of 80 MKs. Impeachment will be a political decision, which will be immune from judicial review and will not take into consideration the Attorney General’s position.

Zulat’s position is that the proposal should be rejected for the following reasons:

  • A prime minister would be able to systematically commit serious criminal offenses and abuse his power, yet continue in office until elections are called, due to the absence of judicial review, the irrelevance of the Attorney General’s position, and the restriction of impeachment to physical or mental incapacity.
  • Impeachment would become a wholly political question. The government, the House Committee, and the Knesset might abstain from declaring a prime minister physically or mentally unfit in order to stay in power or if they sense they lack the majority for such a move. Given that the government fully controls the Knesset and that the government is formed by the coalition, the proposed majority for all the votes may be unattainable. Were a prime minister to be in a coma, the ministers would become a kind of “junta” that would run the country until the scheduled time for elections or until they decided to bring them forward.
  • Were elections to be postponed for whatever reason, an incumbent prime minister might remain in office indefinitely or until he and the ministers decided otherwise. This would be the case if the government-controlled Knesset decided to put off the elections, either because of an emergency situation or for any political reason.

Dr. Maha Sabbah Karkabi


Senior Lecturer in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. She holds a Ph.D. in Sociology from Tel Aviv University (2015), a postdoctoral fellowship at the Center for Gender Studies, SOAS, University of London (2015-2016), a postdoctoral fellowship in the Department of Sociology at Tel Aviv University (2016-2017), and a postdoctoral fellowship Ph.D. at the Humphrey Institute for Social Research, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (2018-2020).
Dr. Maha Karbahi’s areas of interest focus on the connection between social change, family behavior, and gender inequality in societies in the process of change and specifically in Palestinian Arab society in Israel. Her research draws attention to the study of family life and employment, using a combined “ethnic lens” and “gender lens” and paying attention to the perspective of Palestinian Arab women, a group characterized by intersections between multiple marginal locations, which over the years has remained hidden from the research eye. Dr. Karkabi-Sabah’s research is published in professional journals and chapters in scientific books that are considered pioneers in family research, work, and gender equality.


Prof. Frances Raday

Professor Emeritus in the Lieberman Chair in Labor Law, in the Faculty of Law at the Hebrew University and serves as a full professor in the College of Management’s academic track, where she also serves as chair of the graduate program and as honorary president of the Concord Center for International Law Absorption. Radai was a member of a working group of the UN Human Rights Council on discrimination against women. In addition, she is a prominent and feminist human rights activist.


Dr. Rawia Aburabia 

Faculty member of Sapir Academic College’s School of Law, received her PhD from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Her research deals with the interface between law, gender, minorities, and human rights. Has published in leading journals on the subject of the matrimonial laws pertaining to Muslim women in Israel. Her book Under the Law, Outside Justice: Polygamy, Gendered Citizenship, and Colonialism in Israeli Law is expected to be published as part of the Gender Series of Kibbutz Meuhad Publishing House.

Dr. Aburabia has extensive experience in international human rights and public law. She has worked as a jurist for the Association for Civil Right and has been invited as a specialist to address such international forums as the United Nations and the European Parliament on the subject of indigenous communities and minority rights. She has interned with Human Rights Watch in Washington DC, and has been a member of the executive board of Amnesty International. In 2018, she was selected by the magazine Globes as one of the 40 most promising young persons in Israel under the age of 40.



Ron Kessler

With over two decades of experience in the field of digital content, Ron has participated in numerous political and social campaigns. He helped run the digital activity of senior public officials, and worked in various NGOs. Ron is a fundamentally optimistic man, who believes that Israel can be changed and so can people. Lives in Tel Aviv.