July 25, 2023

Israel's Lawmakers Vote to Limit Supreme Court Powers

Israel's lawmakers approved new limitations for the nation's Supreme Court as mass protests took place in the nation.

The controversial legislation led to a strong response from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's opponents, who stormed out of the assembly in response.

"The vote, passed unanimously by Netanyahu’s governing coalition after the opposition stormed out of the hall, deepened the fissures that have tested the delicate social ties that bind the country, rattled the cohesion of its powerful military and repeatedly drew concern from Israel’s closest ally, the United States," the Associated Press reported.

"It came just hours after Netanyahu was released from the hospital, where he had a pacemaker implanted, adding another dizzying twist to an already dramatic series of events," it added.

"Today, we carried out a necessary democratic step, one designed to restore a measure of balance between the authorities, what we had here for 50 years. We passed the amendment to the reasonableness standard so that the elected government will be able to lead policy according to the will of the majority of the citizens of the state," Netanyahu released in a statement.

"In no way is carrying out the will of the voter 'the end of democracy.' It is the essence of democracy. Due to the importance of the issue, the coalition worked throughout to reach consensus with the opposition. This was not a given," he added.

The move was opposed by the Biden administration that has pushed for Netanyahu to stop the legislation.

The controversy has led to a cooling of relations between the two leaders, with Biden failing to invite the Israeli prime minister to Washington for a period of time.

The legislation, however, provides an opportunity for less authority by the nation's highest court, providing more freedom for the people and lawmakers in what was dubbed the reasonableness bill.

The controversy will likely continue but the bill has now been passed and approved as law.

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