Issue Brief on “Israel’s Judicial Transformation Amidst Escalating Protests”

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Since the start of 2022, weekly demonstrations have transpired in Israel, led by individuals who oppose the government’s proposed reforms, particularly those related to the judiciary. These protests have evolved in magnitude, with hundreds of thousands of citizens congregating on the streets of towns and cities across the country.

Unperturbed by these demonstrations, on the 24th of July, 2023, the Israeli parliament, the Knesset, ratified a legislative measure aimed at a comprehensive overhaul of the judicial system and a concomitant curtailment of its authority, despite objections expressed through mass protests by the opposition. The parliamentary vote endorsed an amendment to the Basic Laws that seek to nullify the ability of the Supreme Court to invalidate government decisions or appointments that justices may deem “unreasonable.”[1] This course of action signifies a diminution of the judiciary’s potency. It is a pivotal facet of a broader initiative to revamp the judicial framework, thus precluding the Supreme Court from nullifying governmental decisions. In light of Israel’s absence of a constitution, the Supreme Court references the Basic Laws to enforce checks and balances upon the government within its oversight capacity. For Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government, characterized by its religious nationalist orientation, this event constituted a pivotal juncture. Despite enduring months of protests, the government has relentlessly advocated for this recalibration of the judicial system.

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