More powers for Parliament: Israel weakens powers of the Supreme Court


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More powers for Parliament
Israel weakens power of the Supreme Court

Massive protests against judicial reform in Israel have been going on for weeks. While President Herzog is still talking about compromises, Parliament is pushing ahead with its amendments to the law.

The Israeli parliament has pushed ahead with important parts of the controversial judicial reform. 61 of the 120 members of the Knesset in Jerusalem voted in favor of further changes to the law after a debate. These should enable Parliament to overrule decisions of the Supreme Court with a simple majority. It also aims to limit the Supreme Court’s ability to overturn laws. Two more readings are needed for the amendment to finally come into force.

Critics accuse the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of deliberately wanting to weaken the country’s independent judiciary and thus effectively abolish the democratic separation of powers. According to media reports, the government intends to push through the core elements of the controversial reform in fast-track procedures before the end of this month. The changes could also play into Netanyahu’s hands in the corruption case against him.

On Monday evening, parliament had already approved another legislative amendment in the first reading, which is intended to make it much more difficult to declare a prime minister incapacitated. This stipulates that a three-quarters majority in parliament would be required for the removal of a prime minister. This dismissal would also only be possible for psychological or other health reasons. The move is intended to prevent the Supreme Court or the Attorney General’s Office from influencing an impeachment.

There have been massive protests against the judicial reform for ten weeks, but efforts to find a compromise have so far been unsuccessful. There are increasing warnings that Israel is heading for a dangerous state crisis. Israeli President Izchak Herzog said: “We are in a bad, very bad situation”. An agreement must be reached with all power to lead Israel out of the crisis. He speaks to opponents and supporters of the reform.

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