Fresh protests erupt in Israel over Netanyahu’s judicial reforms

Jerusalem, Feb 20 (EFE).- Tens of thousands of Israelis rallied outside the parliament on Monday as lawmakers are set to vote on controversial judicial reforms critics fear will threaten the democratic separation of powers.

Monday’s demonstration comes two days after a mass protest in Tel Aviv and a week after another one outside the Knesset in Jerusalem.

The aim of the reforms proposed by the right-wing government of prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu is to allow a simple parliamentary majority to overturn a Supreme Court ruling.

The Knesset is expected to vote later Monday in the first reading on two of the bills in the reforms seeking to change the composition of the judge selection committee and would restrict the Supreme Court from reviewing and changing basic laws.

Roads were blocked in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv during the protests, which broke out almost two months ago and spread throughout the country.

Israeli president Isaac Herzog mediated in the week-long intense negotiations that took place ahead of the vote between the government and the opposition over the reforms.

“Agreements can be reached in a relatively short time, even a few days. Not years or even months,” Herzog said.

Despite the opposition’s demand to not go ahead with the reforms, Netanyahu and his far-right coalition partners continue to advance with the legislative procedures.

The Supreme Court currently has powers to overthrow regulations that it considers contrary to basic Israeli law. Opponents of the reforms say the new bill would erode Israel’s separation of powers and weaken the foundations of the country’s democracy.

Netanyahu’s reforms have polarized Israeli society and sparked the largest protests in years. EFE


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