Israel Justice minister accuses US of supporting anti-judicial overhaul protests

Middle East Monitor  /  May 2, 2023

Israeli Justice Minister Yariv Levin has accused the US of cooperating with Israeli protesters against his government’s judicial overhaul plan, Anadolu news agency reported.

The Hebrew Walla website yesterday released a video of Levin saying that “the Americans are working in cooperation with them [protesters] against [judicial reform].”

Levin was also heard saying that the protest movement has “total control over the press” and has a say over the courts, the Attorney General’s Office and “the entire financial system and the US administration which cooperates with them.”

He stressed that he is ready to fight for the judicial overhaul and that unity in the Likud Party’s ranks is important for this and accused the opposition of “not willing to compromise” at the negotiations hosted by President Isaac Herzog.

US authorities have previously refuted similar accusations.

“Any notion that we are propping up or supporting these protests or the initiators of them is completely and demonstratively false,” said State Department spokesperson Vedant Patel.

Israel has been in political turmoil over the past few weeks over plans by the Netanyahu government for judicial reforms.

The opposition views the plans as a power grab in favour of the coalition government. Netanyahu, however, insists that his plans would enhance democracy and restore the balance among the legislative, executive and judicial branches of government.

Netanyahu, who is on trial for corruption, bowed to pressure and announced a temporary halt to the plans. Despite the delay, the government still plans to bring the controversial bill back to the Knesset this month.