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 Israel’s judicial overhaul plan infographic
Graphic shows timeline of Israel’s judicial crisis.


Israel’s judicial showdown

By Duncan Mil

August 8, 2023 - In late July, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s far-right government rammed a bill through parliament that undermines the court’s judicial review powers, escalating the crisis over its plan to overhaul the country’s legal system.

On Monday, the doctor’s White Coats protest group announced that if the government fails to respect Supreme Court rulings its members will not register for hospital work.

“We view that in the event of a constitutional crisis, we will have no choice but to not report for work until the government resumes honouring High Court rulings,” the group said.

On July 24, the Knesset ratified the reasonableness bill barring the top court from striking down government decisions deemed unreasonable. The opposition boycotted the ballot, and the final vote was 64-0. Legal and civil society groups have now filed petitions against the bill.

“The law to abolish the ‘standard of reasonableness’ threatens to give the executive branch power that is not subject to judicial review, and to allow it to govern without restraints and limitations,” read the petition by the Israeli Bar Association.

The Supreme Court will take up the petition in September, weighing in on whether the Reasonableness Law conflicts with Basic Laws protecting civil rights.

The court will also hear a plea to declare Netanyahu unfit for office due to a conflict of interest over his ongoing corruption trial.

Netanyahu is on trial for fraud, breach of trust and accepting bribes in three separate cases. Netanyahu has denied all accusations.

PUBLISHED: 08/08/2023; STORY: Graphic News; PICTURES: Getty Images