Judicial reform before adoption?
Israel experiences new mass protests
07/01/2023 11:13 p.m
In the spring, the Israeli government put the planned restructuring of the judiciary on hold because of the mass protests. According to media reports, however, the reform will be decided soon. The controversial part has been deleted, Netanyahu recently said. Tens of thousands of demonstrators see things differently.
Tens of thousands of people protested against the controversial judicial reform in Israel on Saturday evening. At the central rally in Tel Aviv, protesters chanted “democracy” while waving white and blue national flags. Several participants also quickly rewrote the protest song “Bella Ciao” to “Bibi Ciao”. “Bibi” is the nickname of right-wing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. According to the organizers, around 150,000 people took part in the rally in the coastal city of Tel Aviv. Dozens of demonstrators briefly blocked streets in the city. According to media reports, thousands took to the streets again in Jerusalem, Haifa and a number of other cities.
The government is currently tackling the judicial reform again. Netanyahu initially suspended plans to restructure the judicial system in March after massive pressure. According to Israeli media, however, a law is to be passed in the next few weeks that will restrict the court’s ability to declare government decisions “inappropriate”. Critics fear that key posts could be filled arbitrarily by the government.
A few days ago, Netanyahu tried to appease: He had “discarded” a controversial part of the reform, he told the Wall Street Journal. Specifically, it is about a clause that allows Parliament to overturn the decisions of the Supreme Court with a simple majority. However, critics do not see this as a reversal of the reform, also because they believe there are many other problematic points on the government’s agenda.
With the conversion, the coalition wants to specifically weaken the country’s highest court. The government accuses the judges of excessive interference in political decisions. Critics see the separation of powers and thus the democratic order in danger. The next demonstration is already planned for Monday evening – in front of Ben Gurion Airport near Tel Aviv. According to the organizers, air traffic should not be disturbed. It’s summer vacation in Israel right now and many families are going on vacation.