Israel reboots fiercely opposed judicial campaign

israel-reboots-fiercely-opposed-judicial-campaign
Israel reboots fiercely opposed judicial campaign

[1/2] An aerial view displays demonstrators holding banners as they protest against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his nationalist coalition government’s judicial overhaul, in Tel Aviv, Israel June 24, 2023. RushHourDaily/Oren Alon

JERUSALEM, June 25 (RushHourDaily) – Israeli legislators on Sunday commenced discussing a bill that would restrict the Supreme Court’s authority, restarting a fiercely opposed judicial overhaul initiated by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s religious-nationalist coalition.

Anti-government protests had caused Netanyahu to pause his judicial campaign in March to allow compromise discussions with opposition parties. He declared those discussions fruitless last week and instructed some of the legislation to be revived.

The proposed modifications, which included restrictions on the court’s ability to rule against the government, had sparked frequent street protests before the March pause and on Saturday night anti-overhaul activists obstructed a major Tel Aviv highway.

Coalition legislators have indicated that the new bill would be a much milder version of previous proposals that had sought to almost completely roll back the Supreme Court’s power to rule against the executive.

The opposition, however, claims the new bill would still open the door to corruption.

“You are renewing a legislation blitz meant to destroy the justice system’s independence and badly hurt Israeli democracy’s delicate checks and balances,” Labour legislator Gilad Kariv said as the discussion began.

Opposition leader Yair Lapid on Twitter urged Netanyahu to stop the legislation and restart negotiations “until we reach agreements that will safeguard democracy and prevent a national disaster”.

The proposed judicial overhaul has also stirred Western concern over Israel’s democratic health and spooked investors. Critics see it as an attempt to curb court independence by Netanyahu, who is on trial on graft charges that he denies.

The coalition says its objective is to balance the powers of the government, legislature and judiciary by reining in a Supreme Court they see as too interventionist.

Reporting by Maayan Lubell Additional reporting by Dan Williams Editing by David Goodman

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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