Israel will not halt judicial overhaul legislation ‘for even a minute’: justice minister

Click to play video: 'Thousands of Israelis protest Netanyahu’s justice plans for 5th week'
Thousands of Israelis protest Netanyahu’s justice plans for 5th week
Thousands of Israelis joined staged demonstrations on Saturday for the fifth consecutive week in protest of judicial reform plans by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government – Feb 4, 2023

Israel‘s justice minister said on Sunday he would not freeze “for even a minute” the legislative process for proposed judicial reforms that have drawn widespread condemnation both domestically and globally.

Israel’s Justice Minister Yariv Levin’s comments to Hebrew media’s Channel 13 followed a statement earlier in the day from Israeli president Isaac Herzog, calling for the process to be temporarily halted.

Read more: Thousands of Israelis protest Netanyahu’s judicial overhaul plans

“Stop the whole process for a moment, take a deep breath, allow for dialog because there is a huge majority of the people who would like dialog,” Herzog said in the statement.

The plans to strengthen political control over appointments of judges, including the Supreme Court, while weakening that body’s ability to overturn legislation or rule against the government, have brought tens of thousands of Israelis onto the streets in nationwide protests, widening already deep political divisions in Israeli society.

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The government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says the reforms are needed to curb overreach by judges.

Click to play video: 'Netanyahu said ‘measures had been decided,’ hours after Palestinian shot and killed 7 Israelis'
Netanyahu said ‘measures had been decided,’ hours after Palestinian shot and killed 7 Israelis

Critics say the proposed changes will politicize the judiciary and compromise its independence, foster corruption and harm Israel’s legal protection abroad and its economy.

The Israeli president, who was appointed and not elected, has previously called for all sides of the debate to defuse the tension and try to reach a common understanding.

(Reporting by Emily Rose; Editing by Frank Jack Daniel)

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