• D.C.
  • BXL
  • Lagos
  • Dubai
  • Beijing
  • SG
rotating globe
  • D.C.
  • BXL
  • Lagos
Semafor Logo
  • Dubai
  • Beijing
  • SG


Jan 2, 2024, 10:27am EST
Middle East
icon

Semafor Signals

Supported by

Microsoft logo

Israel Supreme Court’s rejection of judicial overhaul deals Netanyahu another blow

Ohad Zwigenberg/Pool via REUTERS
TweetEmailWhatsapp

Sign up for Semafor Flagship: The daily global news briefing you can trust. Read it now.

Title icon

The News

Israel’s Supreme Court rejected a proposed overhaul of the nation’s judicial system. The controversial legislation — which would have given the government near-total control over judicial appointments and limit the Supreme Court’s ability to overrule the government — alarmed legal analysts who believed that it could undermine Israeli democracy.

icon

SIGNALS

Semafor Signals: Global insights on today's biggest stories.

Judicial overhaul led Israelis to clash over country’s democratic future

Source icon
Sources:  
CNN, The Times of Israel

Thousands of Israeli protesters who took to the streets to protest the judicial reforms clashed with many of the country’s rightwing residents who supported the sweeping legislation that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government sought. But few people on either side of the reform debate were actually fighting over the language of the legislation, the Times of Israel noted in July. Instead, the clash was over a lack of trust in the government. Israel’s center-left parties view Netanyahu’s actions as a signal of his growing illiberalism. “The damage … will continue to grow as the country careens helplessly into a slow-motion crash,” the paper said.

War will dampen celebrations from pro-democracy protesters

Source icon
Sources:  
The Wall Street Journal, PBS

Israel’s war in the Gaza Strip has redirected national attention away from the judicial overhaul. It’s unlikely, then, that there will be jubilation seen amongst the pro-democracy protesters who demonstrated against the legislation last year. “We are in the midst of the longest and most horrible war in our history,” Lee Hoffman Agiv from the protest group Bonot Alternativa told the Wall Street Journal. “There won’t be celebrations here.” The organization pivoted its focus from protesting the judicial reforms to aiding victims of Hamas following the Oct. 7 attack. But that doesn’t mean the group has softened its unfavorable view of Netanyahu, Hoffman Agiv noted. “Some people will say, ‘wait until the end of the war’” to demand the prime minister’s resignation, she said. “But then I say ‘so who decides? When does the war end?’ ”

Netanyahu’s growing wartime unpopularity won’t let him focus on judicial reforms

Source icon
Sources:  
The Times of London, Haaretz

The court’s decision is yet another blow to Netanyahu, who is losing popularity with the Israeli public in the months since the war began. The prime minister will want to press on with his judicial overhaul, but it’s unlikely he’ll get the opportunity, as his war-time government is only passing legislation related to Israel’s military operation in Gaza. Recent polling showed that 70% of Israelis wanted Netanyahu to resign after the war ended. Less than 4% of Israelis view him as reliable, a November poll found, and most Israelis see the military as a more trustworthy source of information on the war than the nation’s leadership.

Semafor Logo
AD