By Karola Klatt
Week after week, tens of thousands of people in Israel have been demonstrating against the new right-wing religious government under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Justice Minister Yariv Levin unveiled a judicial reform shortly after the new government was sworn in during the first days of the new year, sparking fears at home and abroad that Israeli democracy is under threat.
The planned restructuring is aimed at abolishing the independent judiciary’s power over the parliament. Until now, the Supreme Court reviewed the legality of laws, ordinances and decrees issued by parliament. The Bertelsmann Stiftung's comparative survey of sustainable governance in OECD and EU countries states in its SGI Israel Report 2022: “The Supreme Court is generally viewed as a highly influential institution. It has repeatedly intervened in the political domain to review the legality of political agreements, decisions and allocations. (…) Judges are regarded as public trustees, with an independent and impartial judicial authority considered as a critical part of the democratic order.“