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Israel: Protests Continue as Parliament Passes Key Part of Judicial Reform That Biden White House Calls ‘Unfortunate’

Israel: Protests Continue as Parliament Passes Key Part of Judicial Reform That Biden White House Calls ‘Unfortunate’

The Times of Israel: “The White House laments the decision by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government to pass the first piece of legislation from its judicial overhaul package.”

Large protests against the government’s proposed judicial overhaul were reported after the Israeli parliament approved a key part of the proposed reform package. On Monday, Knesset voted 64-0 in favor of a law that takes away the Supreme Court’s power to block government decisions.

The bill was put to vote after months of negotiations failed to reach a compromise with the left-wing parties. All opposition lawmakers walked out before the bill was tabled in the house.

The legislation will pave the way for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s bid to overhaul the judicial system, giving the country’s elected government the power to amend the constitutional framework and appoint judges to the Supreme Court.

The legislation is a big win for Prime Minister Netanyahu, who underwent surgery to have a pacemaker fitted on Saturday night. He was present at Monday’s crucial vote.

The Israeli TV channel i24NEWS reported:

The passing of the bill is a big win for Prime Minister Netanyahu, who is recovering from a pacemaker surgery conducted on Saturday night. He showed up at the Knesset on Monday for the key voted.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu arrived Monday at the Israeli parliament (Knesset), after having cardiac surgery on Saturday night, for the third and last vote on the “reasonableness standard” bill, which is part of the judicial reform. (…)

The reasonableness standard bill was accepted in a first vote and approved by the Knesset’s Constitution, Law and Justice Committe, headed by Rothman. It would change the way Israel’s courts could interfere in decisions made by the legislative and executive branch, but has been heavily protested by its critics.

Biden White House ‘laments’ Knesset vote

The passing of the bill will further anger President Biden and his staffers, who have openly sided with the country’s left-wing opposition. Biden told Israel’s elected government to “walk away” from its planned judicial reform, something the ruling coalition promised their voters during the election. “They cannot continue down this road, and I’ve sort of made that clear,” Biden declared in March 2023.

In response, Netanyahu slammed Biden for interfering in his country’s domestic affairs, saying that “Israel is a sovereign country which makes its decisions by the will of its people and not based on pressures from abroad, including from the best of friends.”

The Times of Israel reported Biden’s response:

The White House laments the decision by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government to pass the first piece of legislation from its judicial overhaul package, noting that it was done without the consensus that the Biden administration has for months insisted is necessary in order to adopt such fundamental reforms.

“It is unfortunate that the vote today took place with the slimmest possible majority,” says a statement from a White House National Security Council spokesperson.

“We believe that for major democratic changes, you need to work for consensus. We urge Israeli leaders to work toward a consensus-based approach through political dialogue.”

The White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre also weighed in:

Protesters block roads, clashes reported

Ahead of Monday’s Knesset vote, thousands of pro- and anti-reform demonstrators turned out in a show of strength. “Sunday night also saw protestors from both sides showing their opinion, with roughly equal numbers according to Channel 13 estimates,” the i24NEWS noted.

The passing of the bill triggered a renewed wave of protests. The Times of Israel, whose coverage largely sympathizes with the left-wing protesters, reported Tuesday:

Activists raging against the government’s passage of the first part of its plan to remake the judiciary faced off against police for hours in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem Monday night, blocking freeways and promising to ratchet up demonstrations, as lawmakers vowed to push ahead with the rest of the contentious program.

Using mounted police and water cannons, authorities only managed to clear the major Tel Aviv thoroughfare after 1 a.m., though thousands continued to demonstrate at nearby Kaplan junction, where some 15,000 had massed hours earlier in reaction to the government coalition’s contentious “reasonableness” bill being approved on its final two votes. (…)

At least 33 people were arrested throughout the day and night in demonstrations in the two cities, police said.

Israeli news website Ynet summed up the overnight protests:

“Tens of thousands protested nationwide Monday night after the Knesset approved a bill to curb judicial oversight of the government. The demonstrators claim that the police have used excessive force against them. In Jerusalem, one protester suffered a deep cut to his hand, and a police officer had to apply a tourniquet to stop the bleeding. Police arrested 54 protesters during the day.”

Netanyahu reaches out to protesters

Following the passing of the bill, Netanyahu reached out to the opponents of the judicial reform. The Israel Hayom newspaper reported Tuesday:

Netanyahu, in televised remarks after sundown as the protests raged, said he would seek dialogue with the Opposition with the aim of reaching an all-inclusive agreement by the end of November.

“We all agree that Israel must remain a strong democracy, that it must continue protecting individual rights for everyone, that it will not become a state of (Jewish law), that the courts will remain independent,” said Netanyahu, who had been discharged from hospital in the morning fitted with a pacemaker.


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The left lost an election and now wants to overthrow democracy

So the left walked out, en masse, rather than lose a vote. This is very important. Leftists always act on principle.

It’s just that their one and only principle is that whatever brings them money and power is good and whatever keeps them from power and money is evil.

    ThePrimordialOrderedPair in reply to irv. | July 25, 2023 at 4:20 pm

    So the left walked out, en masse, rather than lose a vote.

    Those outside of the coalition (or party) running these sorts of parliaments lose every vote … since the ephemeral Executive branch in such systems is only formed after full control of the parliament is achieved. Any vote where the coalition is unable to pass it proposed legislation is a “no-confidence” vote that generally serves to bring down the ephemeral Executive and require either a new coalition being formed or new elections to rejigger the parliament and hope for a more stable situation.

    The whole Eurotrash, party-oriented parliamentary system (which just about the entire world uses) is awful and unstable and nothing but the relic of European fights to snatch power from the ruling Royals.

The_Mew_Cat | July 25, 2023 at 3:34 pm

Israel is still operating under the provisional government from its founding, without a written constitution. If the Knesset can curb the Supreme Court, the Court can strike back and do the same thing. They have the same sovereign powers as the Knesset does. They are as equally legitimate or illegitimate in the absence of a constitution. If they fight tooth and nail, the only solution is to draft a constitution and put it to a referendum.

    ThePrimordialOrderedPair in reply to The_Mew_Cat. | July 25, 2023 at 4:16 pm

    The parliament is primary in those Euro-style, party-oriented parliamentary systems. All power derives from the parliament, which is the only real entity in those governments (as they were developed in ad hoc fashion as the parliaments kept taking powers away from the permanent executives – the royals. For those systems, there is only parliament.

    What is funny – sort of – is how Traitor Joe’s administration is addressing Herzog as if he is some actual government entity, when the President in such a system is near meaningless and has nothing to do with anything in policy. It’s really a ridiculous joke … but most Americans have no idea about it so Traitor Joe and his junta are running with it.

    Edward in reply to The_Mew_Cat. | July 26, 2023 at 6:45 pm

    The justices “wrote” a “constitution” some years back (1990?). They did so without consulting any elected people at all. Didn’t go over well at all and, IIRC, the supremes abandoned it after the Knesset refused to adopt it.

No. Installing a mental retard as “POTUS”… now THAT is “unfortunate.”

ThePrimordialOrderedPair | July 25, 2023 at 4:12 pm

Why would Traitor Joe even think he should have anything to say about Israel’s internal governance? As an alleged “American” Traitor Joe should know that we have no respect for the silly and unstable Eurotrash party-oriented parliamentary systems, to start …. but then, the America-hating democrats idolize party-run parliaments, as was demonstrated by Nanzi Pelousi and the first act she did when the AMerica-hating dems took over the House, to hold a “no-confidence” vote on George Bush – but there is no such thing as “no-confidence” vote in our governmental system, as regards the Congress and the Executive. It is utterly meaningless. But the dems like to pretend that they are Eurotrash and don’t have any pesky American Constitution standing in their way.

Yes … we all know this about the globalist left (which knows no such thing as a “nation-state”) and part of the destruction of America that Traitor Joe and his treasonous junta have been carrying out on our nation.

This Sovietization of America is either going to be stopped or it is going to be finished. One more stolen election is all it’s going to take to finish us off.

I love me some Bibi

2smartforlibs | July 25, 2023 at 4:51 pm

What a novel idea taking the court away form the left so they can run there to get something forced on the country that wasn’t passed as legislation.

I have a hard time understanding why folks are so upset that the Israeli CT will no longer be able to use the subjective standard of whether an act is ‘reasonable’. I get it is the Israeli tradition and the leftists abused it but seriously this is nuts. ‘Reasonable’ ….get outta here that’s BS, which is why the leftists are PO it is ending.

IMO the best thing for the majority coalition to do is create an actual written Constitution that protects the basic rights of Citizens and clearly delineates the role and powers of their govt overall, the Parliament, the Executive Officers and the Judiciary. Then hold a referendum and let the leftists campaign against an objective set of rights, duties and responsibilities for citizens and their government.

    BierceAmbrose in reply to CommoChief. | July 25, 2023 at 10:58 pm

    While we’re at it, could we help them touch up the errors and omissions we’ve found from experience?

    — Include explicit rights to privacy, property and parenting.

    — Define citizen, resident, alien, and .foreign individuals, with the different rights, responsibilities, and prerogatives of each category.

    — Budgets are a thing.

      healthguyfsu in reply to BierceAmbrose. | July 26, 2023 at 3:46 am

      Don’t forget that man and woman now needs to be spelled out, too.

        CommoChief in reply to healthguyfsu. | July 26, 2023 at 7:56 am

        Absolutely they should look at our experiences for examples of where to tighten up the language and to remove ambiguity. Particularly for the executive performing their basic duties like securing the border; make these duties non discretionary and require any enforcement priorities set by executive to actually work.

    broomhandle in reply to CommoChief. | July 26, 2023 at 5:41 am

    Too late. You are 100% correct but if you try to do that now, crazy gets a vote, too, so they would demand that every item they benefit from now gets written into the constitution.

    Edward in reply to CommoChief. | July 26, 2023 at 6:48 pm

    It would be a notable first – the first Brit style parliamentary system to have a written constitution.

ahad haamoratsim | July 26, 2023 at 6:21 am

“ law that takes away the Supreme Court’s power to block, BASED SOLELY ON GHE JUSTICES’ AD HOC DETERMINATION OF WHAT IS ‘REASONABLE’, LAWFULLY AUTHORIZED government decisions.”
Fixed that for you.

Steven Brizel | July 26, 2023 at 9:09 am

This bill is a watered down version of the very necessary judicial reform that Israel needs and probably and unfortunately won’t survive a court challenge initiated by the left

    Edward in reply to Steven Brizel. | July 26, 2023 at 6:53 pm

    Given that the law just took that sort of review away from the court, on what basis would there be such a determination? Constitution? There is none. Other statutes? Doesn’t seem likely.

    Ah, I have it – Because we said so.

The White House has no business interfering with the messy political dispute in Israel.

The issue as I understand it whether the Israel’s highest court should have the authority to overrule laws passed and policies adopted by the elected Israeli government if the Israeli court thinks them “unreasonable,” which means, if the court disagrees with the law or policy.

Of course the Biden Administration sides with any objection to any policy or program adopted by the current Israeli government, as Biden continues the Obama policy of undermining the current Israeli government.

    Once upon a time the Israeli Supremes were quite reticent to decide any statute passed was “unreasonable”. But that probably was because the governments were Left leaning (or more). In recent years the court has made such decisions with greater frequency. There could be a cause and effect based on the citizens electing more conservative governments (aka Far Right Wing taking over).