Israel: Eighth Month Of Protests Against Judicial Reform

For eight months, Israel has been tormented by continuing protests against the judicial reform being sought by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The 73-year-old politician, in his eighth term as prime minister, launched a reform aimed at strengthening the powers of the executive branch at the expense of the judiciary through rules that, for example, would allow the parliament to reject decisions of the Supreme Court by a simple majority and generally by weakening the independence of the judiciary.

Hundreds of thousands of Israelis have been protesting in major Israeli cities for weeks, turning this into one of the largest protest movements in the country’s history.

The risk, according to the motley “family” of protesters, is that the reform will cast doubt on Israeli democracy. Religious parties such as Shas, United Torah Judaism, and Religious Zionism support Netanyahu’s line.

It is the fear of a retreat of the Israeli democratic system that has led in recent months to a huge outflow of capital to foreign countries (in particular to the USA) and a slowdown in the country’s economic growth, which was constant until last year (the government was elected in November) and marked by low inflation.

Attention is now shifting to the Supreme Court, which in September will have to speak out on the laws adopted by Parliament that call into question the balance of powers between the executive and judicial branches.