It is an amendment to one of Israel's basic laws, which act as a kind of constitution for the country. Previously, the law already provided for the possibility of declaring a Prime Minister incapable of office. In the new version that has now been adopted, more stringent conditions are laid down that must be met for such a step.
An Israeli prime minister can now only be declared incapacitated because of mental or physical health problems. In addition, an application by the prime minister himself is required for this, or a vote by the cabinet with a three-quarters majority of the ministers.
The law "de facto limits the ability to declare a prime minister unfit to hold office," Guy Lurie, a researcher at the Israel Democracy Institute think tank, told AFP. "Reasons other than those specified in the amendment to the law will no longer be permitted."
Some opposition politicians and civil society organizations had called for Netanyahu, who had been in office again since December last year, to be declared incapacitated. They argue with the allegations of corruption against the head of government, which Netanyahu rejects.
The vote in the Knesset took place against the background of violent protests against the controversial judicial reform in Israel. The plans of the ultra-right governing coalition aim to drastically limit the powers of the judiciary. Critics fear that the separation of powers will be abolished and that democracy will be undermined. There have been mass protests against the project in Israel for eleven weeks.
On Thursday, tens of thousands of Israelis again demonstrated against the government's plans in several cities across the country. There were also clashes between demonstrators and security forces. According to the police in Tel Aviv, around ten demonstrators were arrested. As an AFP reporter reported, the security forces also used water cannons against the demonstrators.
There were also other gatherings in front of Netanyahu's residence in Jerusalem, in the northern port city of Haifa and in Beer Sheva, south of Jerusalem. The organizers of the regular demonstrations against the judicial reform had proclaimed Thursday "Day of National Paralysis".