Netanyahu’s reforms will ‘crush’ justice system, Israel Supreme Court chief says

Former top legal officials have spoken out against the proposed sweeping reforms (Reuters)

The National  /  January 13, 2023

PM’s bid for more control of judiciary has led to fears over rights of secular liberals and minorities.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s plan to impose more control over the Supreme Court would “deal a fatal blow” to the independence of judges, the court’s head has warned.

The proposal, part of planned judicial reforms, has created concern that the changes may lead to laws that could affect the rights of secular liberals and minorities.

Mr Netanyahu, who took office as Prime Minister last month, says he will preserve the judiciary’s independence.

But chief justice Esther Hayut warned the proposal would “deal a fatal blow” to the independence of Israel’s judges.

She told local TV the plan was not to fix the justice system but “crush it”.

“The meaning of this plan is therefore to change the democratic identity of the country beyond recognition,” she said.

Attorney general Gali Baharav-Miara said the proposed legislation would “lead to an unbalanced system of checks and balances”, according to the Justice Ministry.

“The principle of majority rule will push other democratic values to the corner,” she said.

Yariv Levin, Israel’s Justice Minister, said his plan would restore balance between the branches of government in light of judicial overreach.

He called the criticism “a call to set the streets on fire”.