Netanyahu agrees to soften Israel’s controversial judicial overhaul
Jerusalem, Mar 20 (EFE).- Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government on Monday agreed to soften the controversial reforms of the judicial system after more than two months of mass protests against the proposed changes demonstrators fear they threaten the democratic separation of powers.
The far-right coalition government said in a statement that it also decided to pause the legislative process the reforms must go through before they are approved until after the Knesset’s recess for the Jewish Passover due the widespread controversy they sparked.
However, the proposed reform on altering the composition of the nine-member judicial selection committee, one of the most controversial changes that the government does not seem willing to give in on despite protest pressure, will be pushed forward within the next two weeks.
The government explained that reform aims to cancel the automatic veto of the judges in the committee in order to allow balance and diversity in the makeup of the Supreme Court, as well as to remove the representatives from the Bar Association.
The selection committee still would increase the number of members to 11 as initially planned, but the influence of the government among them is set to be reduced. Originally, the panel would have included three ministers, two coalition legislators and two public figures selected by the government.
But after the new changes, the committee would be made up of three ministers, three coalition legislators, three independent judges and two opposition legislators.
The proposed changes that would allow a simple parliamentary majority to overturn Supreme Court rulings and restrict the Supreme Court from reviewing and changing basic laws, among others, have polarized Israeli society and brought hundreds of thousands of Israelis together in the country’s major cities for 11 consecutive weeks.EFE