Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is seeking to put his controversial proposal to reduce the power of judges to a vote on Monday in the Knesset, Israel’s parliament.
US President Joe Biden urged Israel in a statement on Sunday not to rush into increasingly “divisive” judicial reform, given the challenges facing the US ally.
In a statement posted to the Axios news site, Joe Biden said, “It doesn’t make sense for Israeli leaders to rush (reform), the goal should be to bring people together and find consensus.”
“From the perspective of Israel’s friends in the United States, it seems that the current judicial reform proposal is increasingly divisive, not less and less,” he added.
A highly criticized text
A possible vote on Monday in the Knesset on reform sparked protests over the weekend between its supporters and those who fear it could undermine Israeli democracy.
Justice Minister Yariv Levin, who is behind the reforms, said the text submitted to lawmakers on Monday had undergone changes to accommodate criticism, but added that the coalition was still open to “agreements”.
Benjamin Netanyahu, 73, underwent surgery to have a pacemaker implanted on Sunday. Despite his operation, he pledged earlier to be present during the vote on Monday. “As you can see, I’m doing great,” he said, wearing a jacket and white shirt with an unbuttoned collar, according to video released by his office.
His government, which includes far-right and ultra-Orthodox Jewish allies, says the proposed reforms will prevent unelected judges from overstepping their bounds and ensure a better checks and balances.
Critics of the Prime Minister, on trial for corruption, accuse him of wanting to use this reform to mitigate a possible judgment against him. Some protesters dubbed him the “minister of crime”.
Source: BFM TV