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Israel: Protests against judicial reform escalate ahead of the Knesset vote

Israel: Protests against judicial reform escalate ahead of the Knesset vote

Ahead of the critical vote in Parliament, demonstrations against the government’s planned judicial reform in Israel accelerated. According to media reports, more than 140,000 people gathered in the coastal city of Tel Aviv alone on Saturday to demonstrate against the right-wing religious government of Benjamin Netanyahu’s plan. The organizers estimated the number at 180,000.

Netanyahu initially halted the plans in March after massive pressure, but put them back on the agenda in a somewhat weaker form about two weeks ago. Tens of thousands of Israelis also took to the streets in other parts of the country.

Encouraging corruption?

A section on weakening the judiciary is due to be approved in first reading on Monday. According to the plans, the Supreme Court will no longer be able to rule a government decision as “inappropriate”. Critics fear that this may encourage corruption and thus also the arbitrary holding of high office. On the other hand, the government accuses judges of excessive interference in political decisions.

Earlier this year, the Supreme Court ruled that the appointment of Shas party leader Ary Deri as interior minister was “inappropriate” due to his criminal past. As a result, Netanyahu had to fire his close friend. Observers expect the government to want the opposite.

A total of three readings are required to pass the law. With Netanyahu’s government enjoying a majority in parliament, the law is expected to be approved by the end of the month.

This may also affect Israel’s security. Hundreds of reservists threatened that they would no longer want to take up their duties. In protest, the “Brothers in Arms” movement announced a rally in front of the home of Defense Minister Khoav Galant for the entirety of Sunday night. Mass demonstrations are also scheduled for Tuesday.

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