Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Passes Controversial Judicial Reform Bill to Limit Supreme Court’s Powers

In a significant move, Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, achieved the passage of a highly contentious Judicial Reform Bill, which seeks to restrict the Supreme Court’s jurisdiction in overturning government ministers’ decisions. The bill, commonly referred to as the ‘reasonableness bill,’ was approved by a decisive 64-0 vote, prompting opposition lawmakers to stage a dramatic walkout during the parliamentary session, refusing to partake in the voting process.

Under this new legislation, the Supreme Court of Israel will be prohibited from using the legal standard of ‘reasonableness’ to challenge decisions made by the National Government. This standard, widely employed by judicial systems in countries such as Australia, Britain, and Canada, deems a decision unreasonable if it is deemed to have been made without adequate consideration of relevant factors, assigning undue weight to irrelevant factors, or neglecting essential aspects.

Advocates of the bill, including PM Benjamin Netanyahu and his supporters, argue that it aims to restore a balance of power among the different branches of government. They claim that the Supreme Court has ventured beyond its intended role, morphing into an insular, elitist entity that no longer represents the interests of the Israeli populace and interferes in matters that are beyond its jurisdiction.

As the opposition lawmakers lack the numerical strength in the Parliament to halt the reforms, non-parliamentary organizations have taken to the streets to express their dissent. Protests have sprung up across Jerusalem, where Israel’s Parliament is situated, with protest leaders calling on opponents of the legislation to join the demonstrations from wherever they are located.

A diverse coalition, comprising military reservists, technology leaders, academicians, senior doctors, and trade union leaders, who previously united to pressure Netanyahu into postponing the reforms, is now threatening to launch strikes as a means of resistance. The situation remains tense and polarizing as the nation grapples with the implications of this controversial judicial reform.