Matthew Gordon-Banks

Mass protests against Israeli Government Judicial Changes

Israeli MPs have passed into law a highly controversial bill despite mass protests which aimed to thwart it.

The law removes the power of the Supreme Court to overrule government actions it considers unreasonable and it is the first to be approved in a series of bitterly contested reforms aimed at curbing the power of courts. The planned reforms have triggered some of the biggest protests in Israel’s history, with opponents warning they imperil Israel as a democracy.

The government argues that the measures are necessary to correct an imbalance in power which has seen the courts increasingly intervene in political decisions in recent decades. The so-called “reasonableness” bill was approved by 64 votes to 0, after the opposition boycotted the final vote.

In remarks to the Knesset (Parliament), Opposition Leader Yair Lapid called the step “a takeover by an extreme minority over the Israeli majority”. Israel’s Justice Minister Yariv Levin however congratulated MPs, telling them: “We have taken the first step in a historic process to correct the judicial system.”
The vote brings to a head months of turmoil, with Israel’s President warning political leaders on Monday that the country was “in a state of national emergency”.
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