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Reform plans: Israel: Large protest against weakening of the justice system

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Israel’s partly right-wing extremist government plans to severely limit the influence of the judiciary. The protest, on the other hand, has reached new participation records in some cities.

Tens of thousands of people have again demonstrated in Israel against the planned judicial reform. In some cities there were record numbers of participants on the tenth Saturday night in a row, Israeli media reported. Around 200,000 demonstrators took to the streets in the coastal metropolis of Tel Aviv alone, and around 50,000 in Haifa. There were also rallies in Jerusalem, Beersheba, Eilat and several other cities. According to the organizers, a total of half a million people protested across the country.

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Police reportedly briefly detained a reporter from Haaretz newspaper as he was making his way to the Tel Aviv rally. Accordingly, there were complaints about a tweet by the journalist in which he called Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a “dictator” and advised him not to travel to Berlin in the coming week.

According to plans in the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, parliament should in future be able to overturn decisions of the Supreme Court with a simple majority. In addition, politicians should be given more influence in the appointment of judges. Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier had also expressed concern about this.

Is reform getting closer despite protests?

A few days ago, Israeli President Izchak Herzog publicly spoke out against the plans of the right-wing religious government for the first time. The judiciary reform is wrong, repressive and undermines Israel’s democratic foundations, he said. He had also announced that he had brokered a compromise between supporters and opponents of the reform. Details on this were not disclosed.

Meanwhile, judicial reform is progressing. Core elements of the controversial reform could pass the final reading in parliament next week, Israeli media reported.

The proposed law could also play into Prime Minister Netanyahu’s hands in a corruption process that has been going on against Netanyahu for some time.

Critics see the reform as a threat to the separation of powers and warn that Israel could turn into a dictatorship. The government, on the other hand, argues that the Supreme Court currently wields too much political influence.

Source: Stern

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