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January 23, 2023 9:04 am

Israel’s PM Tells US Judicial Overhaul Will Be Softened – Report

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Then Israeli Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu attends a special session of the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, to approve and swear in a new right-wing government, in Jerusalem December 29, 2022. Photo: REUTERS/Amir Cohen/Pool

i24 News – Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reportedly told US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan that the planned judicial overhaul would not be as extreme as what was announced.

According to an unsourced report on Israel’s Channel 12, Netanyahu told Sullivan during their Thursday meeting that “the legal reform will pass with broad agreements. It will not pass as it is presented now.”

The report noted that Sullivan told Netanyahu: “The liberal-democratic public — and we as an administration — do not like the direction you are going in with regard to legal reform.”

“If there is a violation of democratic values, it will make it difficult for us to provide unwavering and unqualified support to Israel,” Sullivan continued, according to Channel 12. Sullivan then “made it clear to Netanyahu” that the US administration sees him as a leader.

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Earlier this month, Justice Minister Yariv Levin announced a plan to hand more powers to lawmakers in appointing judges and overriding Supreme Court decisions. According to critics of the reform, it would cripple judicial independence, set back minority rights and compromise the credibility of the courts system.

Among those opposed are the Supreme Court chief justice and the country’s attorney-general. However, critics of the Supreme Court say it is overreaching and unrepresentative of the electorate.

On Saturday, some 110,000 Israelis attended rallies in Tel Aviv to protest the proposed reform. Thousands more rallied in Haifa, Jerusalem and Be’er Sheva.

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