Israel: Knesset pushes through judicial reform

The governing majority in the Israel’s Knesset passed a key element of the controversial judicial reform on Monday. The opposition boycotted the vote. Ex-prime minister Jair Lapid announced that the legislation would be appealed before the Supreme Court, a body which will be weakened by the reform. A major demonstration has been announced for Saturday. Europe’s press voices concern.

Polityka (PL) /

This is not how democracy works

Polityka challenges the arguments put forward by advocates of the judicial reform:

“This reform will crack the system that has until now guaranteed the balance of power. It will no longer be the courts that control the government, but the government that holds the courts accountable, hypocritically claiming that this strengthens democracy. ... One of the advocates’ main arguments was that the changes take power away from a court that is not elected by the people. The problem is that the majority of citizens reject the reform (as the polls show). And what’s more, up to 85 percent of them now fear civil war. So who are the prime minister and his henchmen really listening to?”

Agnieszka Zagner
The Economist (GB) /

Israel facing a tempestuous summer

The judicial reform is plunging the country into chaos, says The Economist:

“Israel may find itself in a constitutional crisis within days. ... The demonstrators who believe their country is on a slippery slope to dictatorship are not going home. Entire reserve units and squadrons could be paralysed. Major business groups have already closed their establishments in protest and the trade unions are considering a general strike. Angry protests broke out following the vote, causing havoc in central Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and elsewhere around the country. Israel is facing a tempestuous summer.”

NRC Handelsblad (NL) /

The moderates are being marginalised

Netanyahu needs to close a huge gap that has now become obvious as a result of the judicial reform, NRC warns:

“The dichotomy has existed for much longer and is widening due to demographic developments and political radicalisation. Ultra-Orthodox and ultra-nationalist Israelis are having many more children and gaining ever more political influence. Moderate Israelis feel increasingly marginalised, and more and more of them are thinking about emigrating. Germany is currently a popular destination for Israelis who want to escape the ‘fascism’ in their homeland, as they bluntly put it.”

Leonie van Nierop
Rzeczpospolita (PL) /

National security at risk

In Poland, too, there are protests against moves to limit the judiciary’s power, Rzeczpospolita reminds readers:

“But compared to the overall number of inhabitants there are far more protesters in Israel than in Poland. Why has concern for the judiciary prompted so many people to demonstrate, make serious statements and take risks? There are many reasons, but the most important seems to be the situation in Israel, which recently celebrated the 75th anniversary of its independence. The security of a country where new laws are being dictated by nationalists and religious extremists is at risk. It is thus becoming more like its Middle Eastern neighbours and moving away from the West.”

Jerzy Haszczyński