Photo Credit: Ahmad Gharabli
By Emma Zucker-Murray
The current Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, is currently on trial for corruption. It doesn’t seem coincidental that at the same time, he has now begun to attempt to change the way that the supreme court system works in Israel. With the changes he’s pushing, he would be lessening the power of the judicial branch, making him less liable to punishment. The apparent justification is that the power of the judiciary needs to be reined in, as it’s too powerful; but it seems many are certain that this is not the real reason. Instead, people see it as an attempt by Netanyahu to escape justice by controlling the courts.
Additionally, the Knesset (Israeli legislation) amended the Foundational Law of Government making it so the leader can only be declared unfit for office by a two-thirds cabinet vote or by the Prime minister himself, effectively putting up a wall against legislators who would want to impeach Netanyahu. At the same time, Netanyahu had shown renewed interest in passing his supreme court reforms called “fortifications” to the Basic Law of Government.
For months now, people have been coming to the center of Tel Aviv and protesting this proposed change. Reportedly, massive throngs of protesters chant “The country is on fire” while waving Israeli flags. In March, Netanyahu responded not by rescinding his initial motion for reform, but by delaying the vote on the matter. This action has read like empty words to people, and the protests have continued since that point.
This is an ongoing situation, and it remains to be determined when Netanyahu’s court reforms will be voted on and if they will pass. Given that the Foundational Law of Government ended up being amended, it seems likely that the court overhaul “fortifications” will go through as well.
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