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Sharp split among Israelis over Netanyahu government’s ‘judicial reform’

March 8, 2023 at 4:49 pm

People holding Israeli flags gather outside Netanyahu’s house to protest against the government of Benjamin Netanyahu over plans to pass controversial judicial reforms in Jerusalem on March 01, 2023 [Mostafa Alkharouf/Anadolu Agency]

As the Israeli government ignited controversy in Israeli society with its proposal on judicial reform, a sharp split among Israelis regarding the ongoing demonstrations and judicial reform package stands out, Anadolu News Agency reports.

Anadolu asked the Israeli people in Jerusalem for their views on the demonstrations against ‘judicial reform’ and the political future of Israel.

Proposed by Justice Minister, Yariv Levin, the reform, if enacted, would be the most radical change ever in the system of government in Israel.

The planned change would severely limit the power of the Supreme Court of Justice, give the government the power to choose judges, and end the appointment of legal advisers to ministries by the Attorney-General.

“I think it’s a critical time for Israel, and we have to stand together to protect democracy and to preserve the strength of the Supreme Court, which upholds civil and minority rights,” Israeli citizen, Mickey Roffa, 48, told Anadolu.

Expressing that such an amendment on the judicial system is “as if you are attacking and destroying yourself,” Roffa stressed that the court preserves rights.

“We have to go out to demonstrations and do everything possible to preserve democracy,” he noted.

However, some Israeli citizens like Bechor Israel, a resident of the Pisgat Ze’ev settlement in East Jerusalem, expressed his support for the government.

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“Our government should be stronger and not be afraid of the world outside,” 29-year-old Israel said.

Asked whether he is worried about the future of Israel with the amendment, he said: “I believe in God and trust in Him, and I know that everything that was written to happen will happen, and I am happy.”

Moreover, Moshe Sachs, an American Jew studying in Yeshiva in West Jerusalem, said: “I like the government that they have in Israel right now, but regarding the laws they are trying pass against the Supreme Court, I think they need an overwhelming majority in order to be able to pass those laws.”

He noted, “Just a small majority, like 64 votes is not enough to be able to pass that, in my opinion.”

Elad Shmuel, from West Jerusalem, expressed his disapproval of opposition leaders, including Yesh Atid leader, Yair Lapid, and former Defence Minister, Benny Gantz, who are leading the protests.

“Lapid and Gantz want to destroy the state of Israel. They don’t want a Jewish state or anything to do with Judaism … I think they are bad,” Shmuel said.

Asked whether he supports Benjamin Netanyahu, he said: “Bibi is not really good, but I think we don’t have somebody else better than Bibi.”

Over the last two months, tens of thousands of Israelis have been staging protests against a judicial change plan that would restrict the powers of the judiciary and against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing policies.

Some 37 out of 40 Israeli reservist pilots have refused to participate in a planned training session scheduled for 8 March in protest against the government’s proposed judicial reforms that would limit the powers of the Supreme Court.

Recently, Yesh Atid leader, Yair Lapid, called on Israel’s police chief to “ignore the political and dangerous attempts being made by Itamar Ben-Gvir, who’s trying to fan the flames.”

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