Justice restructuring: Israel's defense minister strives for "consensus"

Shortly before a crucial vote in parliament, Israel's Defense Minister Joav Galant intervened in the dispute over the restructuring of the judiciary.

Justice restructuring: Israel's defense minister strives for "consensus"

Shortly before a crucial vote in parliament, Israel's Defense Minister Joav Galant intervened in the dispute over the restructuring of the judiciary. "Galant is currently taking measures to achieve a broad consensus and to ensure the security of the State of Israel," said his office on Friday evening when asked. Earlier, Israeli television channel 12 reported that Galant was working to postpone a vote scheduled for Monday on a key element of his government's controversial plans.

Thousands of Israelis have been taking to the streets against the comprehensive project for more than six months. Several rallies and disruptive actions are planned for Saturday. The arrival of a protest march is also expected in Jerusalem. Hundreds of people started the 70-kilometer hike from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem on Tuesday evening. On Friday there were already more than 10,000 participants. There will also be a demonstration by supporters of the reform in Tel Aviv on Sunday evening.

According to Channel 12, Galant wants Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to have more time to reach a compromise with his opponents. On Friday, more than 1,000 Air Force reservists wrote a letter saying they would no longer be on duty if the law were passed. According to media reports, the letter triggered concerns within the military that it would no longer be fully operational in the area. A military spokesman wrote on Twitter that the impact is currently being reviewed.

Several government ministers condemned the reservists' threat and stressed that they would not accept it. Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich wrote on Facebook: "A country that submits to the threats of the generals becomes, in effect, a country ruled by a military junta."

Netanyahu sacked Galant in March after he publicly called for the plans to be halted and warned that national security could be seriously damaged. His dismissal was followed by violent protests and a general strike. The head of government then suspended the plans, and Galant's dismissal was later reversed.

Opposition leader: Netanyahu is tearing the country apart

Israel's government wants to deliberately weaken the country's highest court. In her view, the independent judiciary has too much influence on political decisions. A core element of the government's plans could be passed in parliament early next week. The government has convened a special session of the Knesset for Sunday. However, the vote is not expected until Monday at the earliest. Opponents see the separation of powers and thus democracy in danger. Some warn against the insidious introduction of a dictatorship.

In a speech on Thursday evening, the conservative head of government dismissed the fears as "absurd". He said the law would even "strengthen democracy." Opposition leader Jair Lapid then tweeted: "Tonight we saw a head of government tearing the country apart instead of uniting it. He lies instead of telling the truth." After Netanyahu's speech, thousands of people across the country flocked to the streets for a "night of resistance."

Special importance of the Supreme Court

If the law were to be passed, the Supreme Court would no longer be able to judge decisions by the government or individual ministers as "inappropriate". The State of Israel does not have a written constitution and is instead based on a set of fundamental laws. Therefore, the Supreme Court is of particular importance in upholding the rule of law and human rights.

At the beginning of the year, Netanyahu had to dismiss his interior minister because the judges had deemed his appointment "inappropriate" because of his criminal past. Critics fear the law could encourage corruption and the arbitrary filling and dismissal of high-ranking posts.

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