TEL AVIV: Israel’s government on Monday was pressing ahead with a contentious plan to overhaul the country’s legal system, despite Unprecedented uproar This has led to mass protests and warnings by military leaders as well as calls from the United States for restraint.
As legislators prepared for an initial vote in the Knesset, thousands were set to protest the plans.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu The plan was drafted by the ultra-religious, ultranationalist legislators who are his allies. Critics say it will upend the country’s system of checks and balances and concentrate power in the hands of the prime minister. Critics also claim that NetanyahuThe defendant in a string of corruption cases is also facing conflict of interest charges.
Israel has been plunged into one its most serious domestic crises. This is a result of a growing divide over Israel’s state character and values.
Monday’s vote on part of the legislation is just the first of three readings required for parliamentary approval. While that process is expected to take months, the vote is a sign of the coalition’s determination to barrel ahead and seen by many as an act of bad faith.
Israel’s figurehead president has urged the government to freeze the legislation and seek a compromise with the opposition. Leading figures in the tech industry have expressed concern that investors could be driven away if the judiciary is weakened. Tens of thousands protest in Tel Aviv each week.
As a first approval committee for the plan was granted, around 100,000 protestors gathered outside Knesset last week. This was the biggest protest the city had seen in many years.
Former security chiefs, who were once quiet and reserved about their work, have spoken out to warn against civil war. In a sign of the rising emotions, a group of army veterans in their 60s and 70s stole a decommissioned tank from a war memorial site and draped it with Israel’s declaration of independence before being stopped by police.
The plan has even sparked rare warnings from the U.S., Israel’s chief international ally.
U.S. Ambassador Tom Nides In a podcast, he stated that Israel should “pump the brakes” on the legislation and seek a consensus on reform that would protect Israel’s democratic institutions.
These comments provoked anger from others Netanyahu allies, telling Nides to stay out of Israel’s internal affairs.
Speak to his Cabinet Sunday Netanyahu dismissed suggestions that Israel’s democracy was under threat. “Israel was and will remain a strong and vibrant democracy,” He stated.
While Israel has long boasted of its democratic credentials, critics say that claim is tainted by the country’s West Bank occupation and the treatment of its own Palestinian minority.
Israel’s Palestinian citizens — a minority that has the most to lose by the legal overhaul — have largely sat out the protests, in part because of discrimination they suffer at home and because of Israel’s 55-year military occupation over their Palestinian brethren in the West Bank. While Jewish West Bank settlers can vote and are usually protected under Israeli law, Palestinians living in the same area are not allowed to vote.
Monday’s parliamentary votes seek to grant the government more power over who becomes a judge. Today, a selection committee is made up of politicians, judges and lawyers — a system that proponents say promotes consensus.
This new system will give the coalition legislators control over appointments. Critics worry that judges could be chosen based on loyalty to either the prime minister or government.
“This is dramatic,” Yaniv RoznaiThe Rubinstein Center for Constitutional Challenges, Reichman University north Tel Aviv is co-director. “If you take control of the court, then it’s all over. You can make any change you want.”
The Supreme Court would be prohibited from throwing out what is known as “basic laws,” Some pieces of legislation can be used as a substitute for the constitution Israel has. Critics claim that lawmakers will be free to call any law a fundamental law. judicial Control of controversial legislation
Proposals that give Parliament the ability to change Supreme Court decisions and regulate the selection of legal advisors for government are also planned. The current advisers are civil servants and critics fear that this new system could lead to the politicization of government ministries.
Critics are also concerned that the overhaul may grant greater freedoms to critics. Netanyahu He had an escape plan from his legal problems. Netanyahu He denies any wrongdoing, and claims he was the victim of bias judicial system to a witch-hunt against him.
Israel’s attorney general has barred Netanyahu His legal problems create conflict of interest and he has been disqualified from any participation in the revamp. His close friend and justice minister is now leading the charge. Sunday Netanyahu he was subject to restrictions “patently ridiculous.”
According to recent polls, most Israelis agree with the findings of these surveys. Netanyahu All supporters should support the halting of legislation and moving ahead through consensus.