Israel’s new government unveils plan to weaken Supreme Court | Benjamin Netanyahu News

by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Minister of Justice unveiled a plan to overhaul the country’s justice system and weaken the country’s Supreme Court.

Critics accuse the government of declaring war on the judiciary, saying the plan announced Wednesday would reverse Israel’s system of checks and balances and undermine democratic institutions by absolute power to the judiciary. most right-wing alliance in the history of Israel.

Justice Minister Yariv Levin, a confidant of Mr. Netanyahu and a longtime critic of the Supreme Court, presented his plan a day before judges debated a controversial new law. Thursday’s controversy allows a politician convicted of tax offenses to serve as Cabinet minister.

“The time has come for action,” Levin said of his plans to reform the court.

His proposals call for a series of sweeping changes that would limit the power of Israel’s supreme court, including allowing lawmakers to pass legislation that the court has rejected and deemed unconstitutional.

Levin introduced a law empowering the country’s 120-seat parliament, or Knesset, to overrule Supreme Court decisions with a simple majority of 61 votes. He also proposed that politicians play a larger role in appointing Supreme Court justices and ministers appointing their own legal advisers, rather than employing independent experts. .

Netanyahu’s ultra-nationalist and ultra-Orthodox allies have also said they hope to overturn Supreme Court rulings banning Israeli outposts on private Palestinian land in the occupied West Bank. They will also seek to allow prolonged detention of African asylum seekers and formally exclude ultra-Orthodox followers from the country’s mandatory military service.

Levin argues that public trust in the justice system has fallen to historic lows and says he plans to restore power to elected officials now in the hands of those he and those supporters he considers the judges excessive interference.

“These reforms will strengthen the justice system and restore public confidence in it,” Levin said in a televised statement.

“The people we don’t vote for will decide for us,” he said, referring to the court.

“That’s not democracy.”

In a speech Wednesday ahead of Levin’s announcement, Netanyahu appeared to back his justice minister by vowing to “implement reforms to ensure the right balance between the three branches of government.” .

Since being indicted on corruption charges, Mr. Netanyahu has campaigned against the justice system. He denied all charges, saying he was the victim of a witch hunt orchestrated by a hostile media, police and prosecutors.

Levin said his Supreme Court overhaul plan “doesn’t have any connection” to Mr. Netanyahu’s trial.

fierce criticism

The planned overhaul has drawn fierce criticism from Israel’s attorney general and political opposition, though it’s unclear if they will be able to stop the far-right government from moving forward.

Yair Lapid, a former prime minister and head of the opposition, said he would fight the changes “in every way possible”.

Recent opinion polls by the Israel Democracy Institute show that the majority of respondents believe the Supreme Court should have the power to overrule laws that conflict with Israel’s Basic Law, which is seen as a kind of constitution. France.

“It would be a hollow democracy,” said Amir Fuchs, a senior fellow at the Israel Democracy Institute’s policy think tank, of the proposed changes.

“When the government has ultimate power, it will use this power not only on issues of LGBTQ rights and asylum seekers but also elections, freedom of speech and anything else,” says Fuchs. what they want.

“We are in a very fragile position when it comes to human rights and our constitutional foundation because we have almost no checks and balances.”

As part of negotiations to form the current government, Israel’s parliament last month changed the law to allow a convicted and on probation to serve as a Cabinet minister.

That paved the way for Aryeh Deri, leader of the ultra-Orthodox Shas party, to serve half a term as minister of health and interior, before becoming finance minister. He will also serve as deputy prime minister. Deri was found guilty of tax fraud and received a suspended sentence last year.

On Thursday, the Supreme Court is expected to hear the lawsuits against Aryeh Deri as minister.

Attorney General Gali Baharav-Miara, the new government’s top target, has announced his opposition to the ministerial appointment. Baharav-Miara was appointed by the previous government, which vehemently opposed Netanyahu’s rule.

Netanyahu’s allies have floated the idea of ​​dividing the post of attorney general into three roles, two of which would be political appointments.

That would reduce the power of the current attorney general while opening the door for Netanyahu to install someone more favorable to bring charges against him.


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