Netanyahu Advances Overhaul of Top Israeli Court, Drawing Thousands of Protesters

Workers went on a general strike Monday and crowds rallied outside Parliament

Monday - 13/02/2023 20:00 Author: Editors Desk Source: WSJ:
Israelis protested outside Parliament in Jerusalem against plans by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government to overhaul the judicial system. PHOTO: OHAD ZWIGENBERG/ASSOCIATED PRESS
Israelis protested outside Parliament in Jerusalem against plans by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government to overhaul the judicial system. PHOTO: OHAD ZWIGENBERG/ASSOCIATED PRESS

JERUSALEM—Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu‘s right-wing government advanced legislation Monday that would overhaul the country’s top court, drawing tens of thousands of Israelis to protest the proposal in front of the Parliament, or Knesset, as workers across the country went on a general strike.

The proposed changes would allow a simple majority of lawmakers to overturn Supreme Court decisions and dominate the committee that appoints judges. The political opposition, as well as top high-court officials, have said the proposal gives the ruling coalition unchecked power. Israel has a limited system of checks and balances, with its top court playing the leading role in checking the power of the legislative and executive branch.

“We won’t stay home while they turn Israel into a dark dictatorship and silence us,” opposition leader Yair Lapid told a crowd waving blue-and-white Israeli flags in front of the Knesset.

Supporters of the proposal, including Mr. Netanyahu, argue that Israel’s top court is controlled by left-wing, activist justices who strike down laws supported by the majority of the country’s more than nine million people.

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 Keywords: Israel

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