jordan pulse -
The Israeli Supreme Court on Tuesday began considering appeals submitted against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s coalition effort to limit the powers of judges, in a “historic session” that has already fueled a crisis that has been ravaging the country for months.
The Supreme Court, with its full panel of 15 judges, will convene for the first time in the history of Israel to consider appeals submitted by opposition representatives and oversight organizations against an amendment to the judicial system approved by the National Religious Coalition in July.
The legislation takes away from the court some, but not all, of the tools it used to invalidate the decisions of the government and ministers if it considered them unreasonable.
The ruling may be issued within weeks or months.
The sponsors of the appeals that will be heard by the court today say that the amendment overturns important democratic balances and controls and encourages the abuse of power, adding that the relatively hasty legislative process is itself flawed.
The government says the Supreme Court does not even have any authority to review amendments to a quasi-constitutional basic law.
Justice Minister Yariv Levin, who drafted the judicial amendments, issued a statement in which he described the Supreme Court hearing as “a fatal blow to democracy and the standing of the Knesset” by judges he described as representing no one and unelected.
Yair Lapid, the centrist opposition leader, described the amendment as “distorted and characterized by bullying,” and said on the X platform, formerly known as Twitter, “Such legislation is not worth engaging in a national conflict.”
Netanyahu, who is being tried on corruption charges that he denies, says that the judicial amendments aim to achieve balance in the Supreme Court, which has begun to interfere beyond the limit granted to it.
Netanyahu did not give a clear answer when asked whether he would abide by a ruling that would overturn the new legislation.
His coalition launched a campaign to pass judicial changes in January, sparking unprecedented protests, spooking investors and causing the value of the shekel to fall, at a time when Western allies expressed concern about Israel's democratic system.
Given the possibility of clashes erupting with the Palestinians or the Iranian-backed Lebanese Hezbollah group, some Israelis fear the impact of this conflict on the army, as some reserve soldiers do not report for duty as part of the protest against the judicial amendments.
According to Netanyahu, some of the proposals have since been cancelled.