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Sunday, May 19, 2024

Israel. The Knesset approved a bill limiting the powers of the Supreme Court

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On Monday night, the Israeli Knesset adopted a bill limiting the powers of the judiciary in its first reading. This is a key element of the controversial judicial reform of the extreme nationalist coalition of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, which has polarized Israeli society for six months.

The bill passed by 64 votes in favor and 56 against the new law, with all members of the ruling coalition voting in favor of the bill.

The Times of Israel reports that after the announcement of the result, cries of “disgrace” were heard from the benches of the opposition parties, and the chairman of the Knesset Amir Ohana ordered the temporary removal from the chamber of all opposition members who disrupted the session.

Knessetknesset.gov.il

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The amendments voted to limit the power of the Supreme Court to overturn decisions made by the government, ministers and “other elected officials established by law” by declaring them unreasonable.

The next stage will be the return of the bill to the Knesset’s Constitution, Law and Justice Committee, which is due to begin preparations for the second and third readings on Tuesday, as Israeli media have noted that Netanyahu wants the bill to be adopted before the parliament’s summer recess.

Protests in Israel. “This is not the end of democracy”

Last Saturday, when Israelis took to the streets for the 27th time to protest against the reform, the organizers of the protest in the context of Monday’s vote reported that Israel was “several hours away from the first vote towards dictatorship” and called for demonstrations if the law was passed on Monday on Tuesday, “like never before seen in Israel.”

Netanyahu, in a video message on Monday evening as the Knesset debated the bill, argued that “this is not the end of democracy, it strengthens democracy.” “Even with the changes, the independence of the judiciary and civil rights in Israel will not be affected in any way. The court will continue to oversee the legality of government actions and appointments, Netanyahu added.

In March, after protests escalated, Netanyahu stopped work on the bill and began negotiations with the opposition, hosted by Israeli President Isaac Herzog, but these talks failed in June, after which the ruling coalition resumed work on the bill.

The opposition claims that the changes pose a threat to democracy. Netanyahu defends the reforms as rebalancing the branches of power and correcting what he and his allies see as excessive judiciary power.

Protests in IsraelABIR SULTAN/PAP/EPA

Main photo source: PAP/EPA/ABIR SULTAN



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