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Why Is Israel So Divided on Netanyahu’s Judicial Reforms?

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing parliamentary coalition passed a fiercely-protested judicial reform bill on Monday, prompting a wave of political commentary. 

The Details: The new law will prevent the country’s unelected Supreme Court from striking down parliamentary or executive actions for being “unreasonable.” However, Netanyahu’s coalition is planning other reforms — such as allowing parliamentary overrule of judicial decisions — which were previously delayed after military protests led some to label the proposals a national security risk.

Pro-Reform Perspectives: Opinions on judicial reform generally matched U.S. left-right divisions, but not precisely. A Washington Examiner (Lean Right bias) writer framed criticism of Monday’s reform as “exaggerated” but said Netanyahu’s other proposals would leave Israel’s top court a “neutered entity.” The Wall Street Journal Editorial Board (Lean Right bias) said the media was having a “panic attack” over the “modest” reforms and called for compromise. 

Anti-Reform Perspectives: Opponents of judicial reform agreed with many Israeli protesters that the changes threatened Israel’s democracy. The Washington Post Editorial Board (Lean Left bias) said the reforms “ignited a political crisis of immense proportions,” and a writer in Haaretz (Center bias) accused Netanyahu’s government of “assassinating” democracy. 

Other Arguments: Some, including New York Times (Opinion rated Left) columnist Bret Stephens (Lean Right bias), said the way Netanyahu carried out the reforms was unnecessarily divisive. A writer in The Jerusalem Post (Center bias) said both sides failed to demonstrate leadership and responsibility.

Posted on 25 Jul 2023 19:20 link