The shifting landscape of Israel’s judiciary has been the source of widespread debate recently, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu steering the ship. In conversations with American media outlets, the Israeli leader downplayed the considerable changes, painting them as mere ‘minor corrections.’ However, critics at home and abroad argue that these changes bear significant implications for the country’s democracy.
Netanyahu’s proposed amendments, which transfer a certain amount of influence from the judiciary to elected politicians, were introduced with the intention of achieving a more balanced system. “Our intention was to centre the pendulum,” he said, echoing the sentiment later on CNN. According to him, these changes are far from catastrophic and will soon be seen as such when the initial uproar subsides.
These alterations, however, weren’t introduced without friction. On the contrary, Netanyahu and his supporters faced opposition while passing the bill through parliament, mainly because it curtails the Supreme Court’s authority to repeal decisions they find unconstitutional based on the ‘reasonableness’ clause.
The contentious reforms have drawn thousands of Israelis into the streets, voicing their dissent in a series of regular protests. International observers, too, haven’t shied away from expressing their concerns, most notably, US President Joe Biden.
The tension hasn’t seemed to strain US-Israel relations, at least not publicly. Netanyahu recently shared that Biden extended an invitation for a meeting in Washington during their last call. The exact location and timing remain unconfirmed, with the White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre stating, “they both agreed to meet in the US later this year.”
(Source: Malay Mail)