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Amid anti-regime demos, Netanyahu insists on ‘judicial overhaul’

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu leads a cabinet meeting at his office in the occupied al-Quds on June 18, 2023. (Photo by Israeli media)


Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says his cabinet will keep unilaterally advancing the elements of its so-called judicial overhaul plan this week, despite widespread anti-regime protests across the occupied territories.

Netanyahu said at the start of the weekly cabinet meeting on Sunday that the regime would begin advancing "practical steps" to "fix" the judicial system against the backdrop of stalled negotiations involving opposition leader Yair Lapid and former minister of military affairs Benny Gantz.

Lapid and Gantz announced on June 14 they would not continue the talks at the Israeli president's residence until the judicial selection committee forms.

“Last week, it was proven that Lapid and Gantz played a game. It was a smokescreen of pretend-dialogue. We gave a month and then another, and their representatives did not agree to minimal understandings. Their intention was to waste time and delay every amendment, while a large majority of the public believes that there needs to be changes in the judicial system,” Netanyahu said.

“Therefore, this week we will convene and begin practical steps in a balanced and responsible manner, but according to the mandate that we received, to change the judicial system.”

Reacting to Netanyahu’s announcement, leaders of the protest groups against the judicial overhaul said in a statement, “Netanyahu's threats against the judicial system will be met with an appropriate Zionist response: Protests and disruptions that will lead to the failure of every attempt to damage the judicial system.”

For the 24th straight week on Saturday, tens of thousands of Israelis held anti-regime demonstrations across the occupied territories to denounce the prime minister's determination to push through with the "reforms."



The demonstrations have been a weekly occurrence since late December, when Netanyahu announced his plan to have the Knesset (parliament) rubberstamp the overhaul. The changes seek to rob the Israeli supreme court of much of its ability to rule out politicians' decisions. They will also give the political elite a bigger say in the process of selection of the judges.

Faced with overwhelming public pressure, Netanyahu put the plan on a temporary pause in late March, although his cabinet has vowed to push ahead with it.

Some have warned that Israel is facing “real danger” as back-to-back protests have hit cities. President Isaac Herzog has warned of “collapse” and “implosion.”  


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