Despite massive protests, judicial reform in Israel is progressing rapidly. A parliamentary special committee approved a change in the law that would make it significantly more difficult to declare a prime minister incapacitated. Three more readings in Parliament are required before it comes into force.
According to media reports, Benjamin Netanyahu's right-wing religious government wants to push through key elements of the controversial reform in fast-track procedures before the end of this month.
Attorney General: Change creates "black hole"
The draft, approved by the committee after heated debates, stipulates that a three-quarters majority in parliament would be needed to remove a prime minister from office. This dismissal would also only be possible for psychological or other health reasons. The move is intended to prevent the Supreme Court or the Attorney General's Office from influencing an impeachment.
Attorney General Gali Baharav-Miara had warned that the change could lead to "absurd situations". It creates a "black hole" because it prevents any legal supervision.
A debate and vote on further aspects of the judicial reform were also planned in Parliament on Tuesday night. The amendments are intended to allow Parliament to overrule Supreme Court decisions by a simple majority. It also aims to limit the Supreme Court's ability to overturn simple laws.
President warns of "bad situation"
Israel's President Izchak Herzog warned of the serious consequences of the bitter dispute over judicial reform. “We are in a bad, very bad situation,” warned Herzog. This could have serious social, economic, diplomatic and security consequences. Herzog spoke of an "inner struggle that tears us apart". He is trying with all his might to reach an agreement to save Israel from the crisis.
Herzog said he is meeting and listening to all parties involved. He is trying to find a solution "that sets the principles of the State of Israel for many generations to come." It is "not a political compromise, but a Sisyphean task in an effort to find the right formula for balance and hope".