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Netanyahu government advances controversial legal reform bill despite massive opposition

Opposition leader Yair Lapid blasts government for speeding up its controversial judicial overhaul, while claiming to favor a political dialogue

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu seen during a discussion and a vote in the Knesset assembly hall in Jerusalem, Mar. 6, 2023. (Photo: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Israel’s government coalition is speeding up its controversial judicial overhaul plans toward final parliamentary votes as early as next week, despite numerous domestic and international warnings that the reforms would weaken Israel’s democratic institutions. 

If passed, the overhaul to Israel's judicial system would enable the government to override Supreme Court decisions. 

Israeli Justice Minister Yariv Levin and Knesset Member Simcha Rothman, who heads the Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice Committee, are two key players behind the legal overhaul. They claimed on Tuesday that there was wide consensus in Israeli society for comprehensive legal reforms. 

“There is broad consensus among the public, academia, hi-tech and the economy, and among Knesset members, for the need for broad and comprehensive reform and for its foundational principles,” said Rothman and Levin in a joint statement. 

Unsurprisingly, the political opposition views the judicial controversy through an entirely different lens. 

Labor party Knesset Member Gilad Kariv rebuked the government for its plans to pass “repressive legislation” and stressed the need for continued anti-government protests. 

“Only continuing the protest and broadening it will interfere with their plans,” said Kariv. 

Opposition leader Yair Lapid blasted the government for speeding up its controversial judicial overhaul while claiming to favor a political dialogue. 

“Look at what Rothman did today. He put out a schedule for legislation next week. They’re continuing to legislate even as they say, ‘dialogue, dialogue.’ It’s a fraud. They need to stop the legislation. The nation is being torn apart. The economy is falling apart. What is the matter with them?” said Lapid. 

The leading global credit rating agency Moody’s recently warned that Israel’s economic outlook could be undermined by the judicial overhaul.

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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