(Breitbart) Israel’s parliament, or Knesset, passed the first of several judicial reforms proposed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government on Monday, defying protests and pressure from the White House.
The new law prevents courts from using their own idea of “reasonableness” in blocking government policies. Critics had long argued that the “reasonableness” doctrine allowed the left-leaning judiciary to abuse its power, and that it tended to do so more often against Israel’s conservative governments.
Netanyahu came out of hospital on Monday morning, where he had been fitted with a pacemaker over the weekend, to attend the vote.
Hundreds of thousands of protesters — both for and against the reform — demonstrated around the country. Police used water cannons to deter some demonstrators who wanted to block the entrance to the Knesset.
U.S. President Joe Biden, whose administration publicly opposes Israel’s internal reforms, issued a last-minute warning to Netanyahu not to proceed. (Biden’s own administration has mulled “packing” the Supreme Court.)
The fate of remaining reforms is unclear. Netanyahu paused the overall reform package after protests in the spring, allowing time to negotiate with opposition parties. But those talks collapsed. He then decided to move ahead with the reforms, albeit in piecemeal fashion.
Many of the reforms closely parallel existing practice in the U.S. and other democratic countries; Israel’s judiciary began amassing extraordinary powers in the 1990s.