Listen to this articleHalf a Million Israeli Protest Against Netanyahu’s Proposed Judicial Overhaul Plan For Tenth Consecutive Week
For the tenth week in a row, Israeli protests to the streets to voice their opposition to the government’s proposed judicial overhaul plan. According to the organizers, an estimated half a million people joined the demonstrations held in various parts of the country. In Tel Aviv alone, nearly 240,000 israeli protests gathered to make their voices heard. Moreover, in Jerusalem, several hundred demonstrators congregated in front of President Isaac Herzog’s residence. These figures indicate the growing concern of the citizens regarding the proposed judicial reforms.
Netanyahu’s Proposed Judicial Overhaul Plan and Criticisms
The proposed judicial overhaul plan aims to modify Israel’s courts and curtail the judiciary’s authority to check the power of the other branches of government. However, critics have argued that the proposed reforms would weaken the courts and undermine the judiciary’s independence. They contend that the changes could lead to a situation where the government can overrule the Supreme Court decisions with a simple majority vote. Additionally, the proposed reforms would allow the government to nominate judges, which currently falls under the jurisdiction of a committee composed of judges, legal experts, and politicians. Furthermore, the proposed changes would strip power and independence from the legal advisers of government ministries and curtail the courts’ ability to invalidate unreasonable government appointments, as the High Court did in January, forcing Netanyahu to fire Interior and Health Minister Aryeh Deri.
Also one of the key proposals is to give the Knesset the power to overrule Supreme Court decisions with a simple majority. Another proposal is to allow the government to nominate judges, a task currently assigned to a committee composed of judges, legal experts, and politicians. The plan also seeks to remove power and independence from government ministries’ legal advisers and take away the power of the courts to invalidate “unreasonable” government appointments, as the High Court did in January, forcing Netanyahu to fire Interior and Health Minister Aryeh Deri.
Netanyahu’s Proposed Judicial Overhaul Plan
Opposition leaders and protesters warn that the proposed judicial overhaul plan, which would make significant changes to Israel’s courts, could have dire consequences for Israeli democracy. Specifically, they are concerned that the plan would strip the courts of their power and weaken the judiciary’s ability to check the power of the other branches of government.
They fear that the government could overrule Supreme Court decisions with a simple majority vote, giving the government unchecked power and undermining the rule of law. Furthermore, the proposed plan would give the government control of the nomination process for judges, which many believe would further erode the independence of the judiciary. In the words of former Prime Minister Yair Lapid, “The only thing this government cares about is crushing Israeli democracy.”
Accusations Against Netanyahu
Critics accuse Netanyahu of pushing the legislation to evade corruption trials he is currently facing. However, Netanyahu denies this, saying that the trials are collapsing on their own, and that the changes are necessary after judicial overreach by unelected judges.
Support for the Supreme Court and Nominating Judges
A recent poll conducted by the Israel Democracy Institute shows that about two out of three (66%) Israelis believe the Supreme Court should have the power to strike down laws incompatible with Israel’s Basic Laws. The poll also found that about the same proportion (63%) say they support the current system of nominating judges.
Israeli Protests and Demonstrations
Protests and demonstrations against Netanyahu’s proposed judicial overhaul plan began last December and have continued for ten consecutive weeks, with half a million Israelis participating in the latest demonstrations. Protest leaders warn that if the proposed laws are passed, Israel will no longer be a democracy. “We are done being polite,” said Shikma Bressler, one of the Israeli protest leaders.
Following the demonstrations, on Thursday, President Isaac Herzog – whose role is largely ceremonial – spoke out against the proposed judicial overhaul legislation. Herzog joined the protesters in criticizing the reforms, arguing that they could harm Israeli democracy. In his speech, he highlighted that the proposed changes could undermine the fundamental principle of the separation of powers, which is a cornerstone of Israeli democracy. He stated that the proposed reforms could lead to an erosion of the independence of the judiciary and reduce the courts’ ability to check the power of the other branches of government.
The proposed judicial overhaul plan has sparked outrage and protests across Israel, with half a million Israelis taking to the streets to voice their opposition. Protest leaders warn that the proposed changes would undermine Israeli democracy, while critics accuse Netanyahu of pushing the legislation to evade corruption trials. The Israeli Democracy Institute’s recent poll shows that the majority of Israelis support the Supreme Court’s power and the current system of nominating judges.
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