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Israel: parliamentary opposition leader demands the government to freeze its judicial overhaul for 18 months

Israel’s opposition leader and former caretaker Prime Minister, Yair Lapid, has demanded that the current government freeze its plans for a judicial overhaul for 18 months as a prerequisite for resuming negotiations over the bill. This demand comes in response to Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s government passing a “reasonableness bill” aimed at curbing the power of the top court.

Taking to the microblogging platform, Lapid emphasized that the only way negotiations could continue is if the government puts its judicial overhaul plan on hold for the specified duration. He proposed that the freeze be enacted through legislation jointly passed by both the opposition and the government. Lapid stressed that any changes made during this period would require a two-thirds majority.

Lapid expressed frustration, mentioning that he and Israeli President Isaac Herzog had anticipated signing an 11th-hour agreement reached during talks. However, Justice Minister Yariv Levin and National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir intervened, causing Netanyahu to back down.

In a last-minute attempt to amend the bill or reach a broader agreement between Netanyahu’s Likud party and the opposition, President Herzog scrambled ahead of the vote on Monday but was unsuccessful.

The “reasonableness bill” is the first part of a broader judicial system reform targeted by the right-wing coalition. It seeks to strip the top court of its power to declare government decisions unreasonable. The clause was passed with 64 votes in favor, primarily by ruling coalition lawmakers, as the entire 56-member opposition boycotted the vote in protest.

Subsequently, protests against the government’s proposed judicial overhaul have continued, with demonstrators expressing their opposition to the controversial reforms across the country. Additionally, army reservists are threatening to refuse duty as experts argue that the reforms could potentially affect the “apolitical melting pot” nature of the Israel Defence Forces (IDF).


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