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Netanyahu slams Biden over criticism of judicial overhaul

August 1, 2023 at 9:37 am

US President Joe Biden (R) met with Israeli Prime Minister on 14 July 2022 [netanyahu/Twitter]

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has slammed the Biden administration in Washington over its criticism of his judicial overhaul, stressing that he will not bow to outside pressure.

Speaking to Fox News on Sunday, Netanyahu rebuked the US president and others, saying that other countries should not interfere in Israel’s domestic affairs. He pointed out that he has served as a prime minister for 16 years, but he has “never commented on the internal debates of other democracies.”

He added: “Everybody has an opinion on Israel; they don’t have an opinion on the riots in France or the protests there, or the debates that happen in other countries. [The US] is experiencing a major debate between the Supreme Court and the executive right now and I really don’t care to comment on it.”

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The Biden administration has declared its opposition several times to the judicial overhaul planned by Netanyahu’s far-right coalition government. It has asked the Israeli leader not to go ahead with any of it without a broad consensus. Netanyahu has vowed that he will not be influenced by international pressure.

“We will make our own decisions. In democracies, sovereign states, sovereign democracies, the elected representatives of the people make the decisions and that’s how it’s going to be in Israel,” he insisted. “I am still trying to get a consensus because it is better for democracy that judicial changes are done with as broad a consensus as you can.”

Last week, the Israeli Knesset approved the bill which gives immunity to ministerial decisions against the Supreme Court’s test of “reasonableness”. Without a second chamber, the Supreme Court has fulfilled that role and provided checks and balances on Israeli government proposals and legislation.