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Judges says law shielding Netanyahu ‘clearly personal,’ mull delayed implementation

The Times of Israel is liveblogging Thursday’s events as they unfold.

Russia says it downed seven drones near Moscow

Russia says it had downed seven drones over the Kaluga region, less than 200 kilometers (124 miles) southwest of Moscow, amid a surge in drone attacks targeting the capital.

The defense ministry says it had foiled “a terrorist attack with drones” in the region.

Regional governor Vyacheslav Shapsha confirms on the Telegram messaging app that seven drones had been shot down.

There were no casualties, he adds

IDF officer charged with dealing coke, stealing hand grenades

An army captain has been charged with drug dealing and illegal possession of weapons, the Israel Defense Forces says.

According to an indictment filed at a military court yesterday, the officer sold 100,000 NIS ($27,000) worth of cocaine to Military Police agents on three separate occasions over the course of two and a half months.

The officer was also found to have seven 40mm grenades at his home that he illegally took from the army.

The officer was detained on July 6, and has remained in custody since.

While prosecutors have requested to extend the officer’s remand until the end of legal proceedings, the court orders that he be held until August 8 at this stage.

High Court judges says law shielding Netanyahu ‘clearly’ legislated to benefit him

Supreme Court President Esther Hayut says “it is clear” a law passed in March blocking the court from ordering a prime minister to recuse himself from office was designed for the benefit of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Speaking during a hearing on petitions to the High Court of Justice against the law, Hayut together with justices Uzi Vogelman and Isaac Amit all pointedly ask on several occasions whether delaying implementation of the legislation would resolve this problem, a form of legal interpretation the court deployed just three days ago over the so-called Tiberias law.

“[Likud] MK Moshe Saada said two days before the law was passed in its second and third readings ‘we legislated it because of Netanyahu.’ You can’t get clearer than that,” insists Hayut in the hearing.

“Perhaps there is an alternative [to striking down the law] that maybe the amendment to the law [for recusal] could apply only from the next Knesset,” queried Vogelman.

The recusal law was passed as an amendment to Basic Law: The Government, ostensibly to prevent the court or the attorney general from determining that Netanyahu was in violation of his conflict of interest agreement, signed in 2020 in light of his criminal indictments, due to his involvement in his coalition’s judicial overhaul legislation.

Vogelman also insists during the hearing that the High Court has the authority of judicial review over Basic Laws, despite them having a quasi-constitutional nature. These comments come against the background of recent remarks by several government ministers that the court has no right to review or invalidate such laws.