Mass protests: Parliament in Israel approves law on judicial restructuring

After the passage of a core element of the controversial judicial reform, tens of thousands of people demonstrated again in Israel.

Mass protests: Parliament in Israel approves law on judicial restructuring

After the passage of a core element of the controversial judicial reform, tens of thousands of people demonstrated again in Israel. During a protest in a town north of Tel Aviv last night, a car crashed into a crowd, injuring three demonstrators. The police later arrested the driver, whose motive was initially unclear in the evening. The demonstrators had blocked a lane.

People were disrupting traffic all over the country. In Tel Aviv, thousands marched for hours on a central highway in the evening. According to media reports, at least 34 protesters were arrested across the country, some violently. Several people were also injured, among other things, through the use of water cannons. The protest movement had previously announced that it would continue its protest "to the end".

Critics see a danger to democracy

On Monday, 64 out of 120 lawmakers voted in favor of a bill that limits the Supreme Court's ability to act. The opposition boycotted the vote. The law is part of a larger package. Critics see it as a threat to Israel's democracy and even warn against the introduction of a dictatorship.

According to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the law enables the elected leadership to govern in the interests of the majority of citizens. Proponents of the reform argue that judges, unlike MPs or ministers, are not directly elected by the people. They are now more independent of the judges and can more easily assert the interests of their voters.

With the new law, the Supreme Court will no longer be able to judge a decision by the government or individual ministers as "inappropriate". Numerous experts fear that this could encourage corruption and thus also the arbitrary filling of important posts or layoffs.

Is there a national crisis?

Representatives of the opposition, the Bar Association and several non-governmental organizations announced yesterday that they would appeal the law to the Supreme Court. According to experts, a state crisis could ensue if the court decides to intervene. According to media reports, Israel's medical association announced a protest strike for today. Hospitals therefore only work with minimal capacity and only treat emergencies.

The US criticized the Israeli parliament's decision. The course of the Netanyahu government has become a stress test for Israeli-American relations in recent months. The United States is Israel's closest ally and provides the country with billions of dollars in defense every year.

Another key element of the reform - a change in the composition of the judges - should, according to the coalition, be on the agenda for the next session in autumn.

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