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The Knesset approves, in its first reading, “reform of the judiciary”…and the protests continue

The Israeli Parliament approved on Monday-Tuesday night, in a first reading, a key clause within a controversial bill that limits the powers of the Supreme Court, in a new episode of the series of approving this amendment that led to one of the The largest popular protests in the history of Israel.

The text, which was approved in a first reading on Monday-Tuesday night, aims to eliminate the possibility for the judiciary to decide on the “reasonability” of government decisions.

While the project faces fierce opposition, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu confirms that he is throwing To strike a balance between the powers By reducing the powers of the Supreme Court in favor of Parliament.

And the text was approved in a first reading in a session that was dominated by turmoil, and it won 64 votes, which is the number of representatives of the government coalition. All 56 opposition deputies voted against the text.

The deputies also approved, in a first reading, another controversial item related to amending the process of appointing judges.

Before the start of the debates, a number of protesters entered the Knesset headquarters, which necessitated their removal by force, while hundreds demonstrated in front of the headquarters.

Protesters outside the Knesset, Monday

In a video of Netanyahu posted on Facebook, the prime minister said the bill “is not the end of democracy, but rather the strengthening of democracy.” He continued, “It will not prejudice the rights of the courts or the rights of the Israelis… The court will continue to consider the legality of government decisions and appointments.”

But opposition leader Yair Lapid, leader of the centrist Yesh Atid (There is a Future) party, in a speech to lawmakers denounced the bill.

He said, “You promised to help the weak and protect Israel’s security… You are doing nothing but this madness.”

And the opposition announced a national mobilization day on Tuesday against the bill, which will be put to a vote in a second and then a third reading.

The text, which was approved in the first reading, especially affects the appointment of ministers. In January, a decision by the Supreme Court forced Netanyahu to dismiss the number two man in the government, Aryeh Deri, who was convicted of tax evasion.

The Netanyahu government, which was formed at the end of December, is trying to pass a judicial reform project aimed at strengthening the powers of the Knesset at the expense of the judiciary.

The government believes that reform is necessary to ensure a better balance between powers, but its opponents see it as a threat to democracy and its institutional guarantees.

Netanyahu during the Knesset session

Netanyahu during the Knesset session

“day of wrath”

An opinion poll, the results of which were published by the public channel on Sunday, showed that 31% of Israelis support judicial reform, while 43% oppose it.

He raised the proposed project popular protests It is among the largest in Israel’s history, with tens of thousands of protesters since January continuing to take to the streets every Saturday night to express their opposition to the proposed amendment.

And last Monday, the protests reached Ben Gurion Airport near Tel Aviv, where protesters banged drums, used trumpets, and carried signs reading, on one of them, in English, “Democracy will triumph.”

Protest organizers have called for a day of rage against the government on Tuesday if the text is passed.

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