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Israel. The government of Benjamin Netanyahu is working on changes in the judiciary

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu defended the proposed changes to the judiciary on Friday, but also indicated that changes to the bill could be made that critics say would damage democracy and the independence of the judiciary.

Netanyahu, 73, who is on trial for corruption charges, returned to power in December as head of a nationalist, religious government. One of his first moves is a bill that would limit Supreme Court rulings against government moves or Knesset bills, while increasing the influence of politicians over the selection of judges.

Netanyahu: Adjustments must be made responsibly

Prime Minister Netanyahu – responding to harsh criticism by Chief Justice Esther Hayut – said the bill could be improved, but critics exaggerated the negative effects of the proposed changes.

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“When someone says that a minor adjustment would destroy democracy, that is not only a false argument, but also one that does not allow for any agreement that should be reached in substantive discussions in the Knesset,” Netanyahu said.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin NetanyahuABIR SULTAN/PAP/EPA

– Corrections must be made responsibly and with due care when all positions are heard. This is a process that will now take place, added the Prime Minister Israel.

President of the Supreme Court: a threat to the independence of the judiciary

Esther Hayut said on Thursday that the reform – if implemented in accordance with the assumptions of Justice Minister Yariv Levin – would threaten the independence of the judiciary. “If the plan goes through, Israel’s 75th anniversary will be remembered as the year when the democratic integrity of the country was dealt a fatal blow,” she said.

Proponents of the bill have long been accusing Supreme Court o elitism – they say that the changes will restore the balance between the judiciary, executive and legislative powers. The Knesset Constitutional Committee began discussing the plan.

Critics say the new law risks fostering corruption, violating minority rights and compromising Israel in legal investigations abroad and deterring investors. There have been several protests over the past week, with more demonstrations scheduled for Saturday.

Main photo source: ABIR SULTAN/PAP/EPA



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