On Monday, the Israeli parliament voted in favor of a controversial legal reform by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The law reduces the influence of judges on political decisions.
The vote centered around what is called the principle of reasonableness. Under current law, judges in Israel can blow the whistle on a government if its policies are “unreasonable.” This is the case, for example, if a bill violates some civil rights.
The Israeli parliament (the Knesset) has now destroyed this principle. The law is part of a larger reform package. With this, the radical right-wing government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wants to further limit the judiciary.
If the entire package is passed, Parliament will have the power to ‘overturn’ Supreme Court decisions by a majority. Proponents of reforms believe that this is necessary, as they believe that the Supreme Court interferes too much with government bills.
However, critics see this as a serious violation of an independent judiciary. Thanks to its majority in parliament, the government can thus influence the composition and decisions of the Supreme Court. With this, the government puts the only independent brake on marginalized legislation, fear.
In recent months, Netanyahu’s plan has already generated a great deal of controversy. People took to the streets en masse to express their dissatisfaction with the plans. Thousands of demonstrators also marched to the Israeli parliament building on Monday to block the entrance. Police used water cannons to disperse the demonstrators.
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