In light of one of its worst political and judicial crises in which Israel has been living since the fourth of last January, tensions in the country have not ceased.
Today, Monday, thousands of Israelis poured back into the streets in central Tel Aviv to protest the draft judicial amendments law, and clashes took place between a number of protesters and security forces.
So what is this project that inflamed the country with anger, who supported it and who opposed it?
During the last period, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sought to introduce radical changes to the judicial system, especially since many right-wingers in Israel believe that the Supreme Court is left-leaning, elitist, and heavily involved in political affairs, as well as giving priority to minority rights over national interests in many cases. .
Netanyahu pressured the government to introduce changes that would limit the powers of this court to issue rulings against the legislative and executive branches, while giving parliamentarians greater power in appointing judges, which currently requires the approval of politicians and judges who are members of the relevant committee.
These various current proposals would change that, giving the government much more leverage.
In the midst of these tensions, names emerged from the government that supported the decision of its president, including the Israeli Minister of Internal Security, Itamar Ben Gvir, who said that the judicial amendments should not be retracted, warning Netanyahu, who changed his position as a result of street pressure, of dissolving the government if the amendment was suspended.
Likewise, Minister of Justice Yariv Levin, who called on the government to adhere to the plans, threatening to submit his resignation, then also returned under the pressure of the flaming street and the demonstrations, to announce that he was convinced of the importance of postponing the judicial amendments for now, supporting Netanyahu’s decision on this file.
There is also Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, who considered that halting the judicial amendments means “submission to chaos.”
As for the opponents…
The most prominent of them was the dismissed Israeli Minister of Defense, Yoav Gallant, who saw that the division over amendments to the judicial system represented a direct threat to Israel’s security.
He added that Israel’s international standing was at stake.
He was agreed by the head of the Israeli opposition, Yair Lapid, who relied on the Likud leaders to stop what he called “the government’s madness” regarding its insistence on judicial amendments.
Meanwhile, Strategic Affairs Minister Ron Dermer, along with Education Minister Yoav Kisch, also advised halting the legislation.
While Israeli President Isaac Herzog called on the government to stop these controversial amendments.
It is noteworthy that the story began when Minister of Justice Yariv Levin announced, on January 4, his intention to amend the judicial system in the country to include an “exception” that would allow parliament to suspend Supreme Court decisions, in a move that included the government’s attempt to give priority to the authority of deputies over the authority of judges, at a time when it was Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is being tried on corruption charges.
Levin said at the time in front of the media, “There are judges, but there is also a parliament and a government… Democracy is in danger when we cast our votes at the ballot box, but every time unelected people decide on our behalf.”
He also added, “The judge can no longer annul the law passed by Parliament.”
Among the most prominent changes he proposed in this project, which has ignited, since then until today, an unprecedented debate in Israel, and even caused the dismissal of the Minister of Defense, the so-called “exception clause” that allows parliamentarians, by a simple majority, to cancel a decision issued by the Supreme Court. Especially since in Israel, which does not have a constitution, the Supreme Court can annul laws passed by the Knesset if it considers that they contradict the basic laws of the country.
Passing this “exception clause” would thus allow parliament to put into practice a law rejected by the judges.
However, these amendments fueled the protests, as thousands took to the streets of Tel Aviv yesterday evening, and the professional and medical unions announced, on Monday, that they would go on strike until they were withdrawn.
The strike at Ben Gurion Airport also paralyzed air traffic and prevented planes from taking off from Tel Aviv, while the dismissed Minister of Defense warned of security risks besetting the country, amid the huge rift.