Israel Opposition Movement Calls For 18-Month Judicial Freeze

The first pieces of a judicial reform in Israel were enacted last week by the right-wing government headed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. One goal of the reform is to restrict the judiciary’s jurisdiction over administrative matters. Israeli opponents have been protesting the actions for months.

The head of Israel’s opposition party has requested an 18-month freeze on the government’s judicial makeover so that talks may resume on a consensus formula for the changes.

Netanyahu put his reform on hold earlier this year to meet with the opposition after being persuaded to do so by Israel’s president. After negotiations stalled, however, Netanyahu proceeded with the bill nevertheless, and lawmakers passed it by a razor-thin margin last week despite a widespread boycott by the opposition.

On Sunday, opposition leader Yair Lapid said in parliament that the government should work with the opposition and introduce legislation to temporarily pause its makeover for 18 months to continue consensus negotiations. According to him, a two-thirds majority vote would be needed to make any changes within that time frame.

According to Lapid, the government has the onus of evidence if it is serious about winning over the public.

He said it was evident that the administration would again run away at the last minute, making it pointless to negotiate other laws or accords until the legislation is frozen.

The Likud Party, which Netanyahu leads, said it was willing to talk. They noted that Lapid, who served as prime minister for a few months last year, was demanding more from the Palestinians than he would accept.

The Monday amendment passed on Monday limits the Supreme Court’s ability to overturn government actions deemed “unreasonable.”

Netanyahu’s coalition says the amendments are required to rein in what it sees as the Supreme Court’s politicized meddling.

Some worry that the amendments would lead to abuses of power since they remove essential limits on the executive’s power.