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Israel’s highest court holds hearing on legality of judicial reforms

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Israel’s highest court holds hearing on legality of judicial reforms

Israeli Supreme Court weighs judicial reforms | Menahem Kahana/Pool/AFP/Getty Images

Israel’s Supreme Court will today hold a hearing regarding the government’s removal of the reasonableness law. The result will impact Israeli democracy dramatically. 

On July 24th Netanyahu’s government passed a bill which prohibits the Supreme Court from labelling government decisions “unreasonable”. Israel does not have a constitution, and prior to its removal the reasonableness law was intended to limit governmental overreach.  

Netenyahu’s push to weaken the judiciary is part of a legal overhaul that promises to be the most significant in Israeli history. Supporters claim this will rebalance power away from an overly powerful judiciary. Critics rebut, stating the law was one of the key checks and balances in the country’s legal and political system and that revoking it is a step towards autocracy.

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The bill has proved hugely controversial, sparking mass protest and widespread condemnation including from inside the military. The hearing enters unchartered territory as the Supreme Court delineates on its own future. With notable politicians signalling they won’t respect the laws reinstatement the stage is set for a constitutional clash with no clear solution. It is unlikely the results of the hearing will end what has become an existential crisis regarding Israel’s future. Increasingly   aggressive demonstrations and even military intervention should not be ruled out. 

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