Netanyahu attended the Knesset vote after being discharged for pacemaker placement. New protest demonstrations are feared.
The Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, was released from hospital on Monday morning after receiving heart treatment just in time to see a key clause of his controversial judicial reform plan proved in the Knesset (Parliament); a project that has opened an unprecedented national crisis in Israel.
Israeli lawmakers proved on Monday a key part of the divisive plan of Netanyahu to reshe the country’s justice system despite mass protests that have exposed unprecedented fissures in Israeli society.
The vote came after a stormy session in which opposition legislators they chanted “shame” and then they stormed out of the chamber.
The vote reflected the determination of Netanyahu and his far-right allies to go ahead with the plan, which has strained the country’s delicate social ties, shaken the cohesion of its powerful military and repeatedly raised the concern of its closest ally, the United States.
In Monday’s vote, which Netanyahu attended after receiving a pacemaker, lawmakers proved a measure thatand prevents judges from overturning government decisions on the grounds that they are “unreasonable”.
Advocates say the current “reasonableness” standard gives unelected judges excessive powers on decision-making by elected officials. But critics of the government say it removes a key element of the Court’s supervisory powers and it opens the way to corruption and improper pointments.
With the opposition outside the venue, the measure it passed by a 64-0 margin.
After the vote, Justice Minister Yariv Levin, the plan’s architect, said parliament had taken “the first step in an important historical process” of reform of the judiciary.
More mass protests were expected after the vote.
The plan has sparked protests across the country, with active demonstrations for 29 consecutive weeks.
More than 10,000 reservists, including pilots, intelligence officers and commandos, have announced they would resign from the service if the bill passes.
Outside parliament, the police used water cannons to disperse a crowd of protesters.
democracy in danger
Critics fear that judicial reform undermine Israel’s liberal democracy by removing checks and balances on the Executive.
Opponents also accuse Netanyahu, who is being tried for corruptionof wanting to use this reform to annul possible lawsuits against him, which he denies.
Netanyahu’s government, which includes far-right and ultra-Orthodox alliesargues that it needs to curb judicial overreach and that change is necessary to ensure a better balance of powers.
“We are in a national emergency,” said Israel’s President Isaac Herzog, who has been trying to broker a compromise to end months of protests.
US President Joe Biden urged Israel on Sunday not to rush “divisive” judicial reforms.
This Monday’s clause is the first of the reform to become law. Other proposed changes include giving the government greater power in the pointment of judges.