Despite massive protests, judicial reform in Israel is progressing rapidly. A special parliamentary committee approved a change in the law on Monday 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.
Massive protests for ten weeks
There have been massive protests against the judicial reform for ten weeks, but efforts to find a compromise have so far been unsuccessful.
President Izchak Herzog spoke out publicly against the plans for the first time on Thursday. He met with the Religious Zionist Party's Simcha Rothman Sunday night, who serves as a driving force behind the reform. At the meeting with the chairman of the Judiciary Committee in Parliament, Herzog said his spokesman said he "reiterated the need to reach agreements that are as broad as possible in the interests of the State of Israel and its citizens." There are increasing warnings that Israel is heading for a dangerous state crisis.