Israel parliament votes in favor of limiting court oversight amid protests
The Knesset voted Monday on the reform's amendment to the court's "reasonableness standard."
Israeli lawmakers voted Monday in favor of limiting the court's power to block some government decisions despite six months of major protests in the country and pressure from the United States to slow down action on the legislation.
The Knesset, or 120-member Israeli legislature, voted 64-0 Monday on the first part of the judicial reform plan proposed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's conservative coalition. The opposition members boycotted the vote, allowing the legislation to pass in its original form.
Opposition member Avigdor Lieberman of the Yisrael Beitenu party called on the Supreme Court to reject the law, stating, as translated, that it was passed by a "messianic government on steroids," adding, "The State of Israel must not become North Korea," according to Israeli outlet Hamal.
The vote was to limit the court's ability to execute its "reasonableness standard." Current precedent allows judges to stop government administrative actions that are deemed to be beyond what a reasonable and responsible official would make.
The vote comes as President Joe Biden called on Netanyahu, who was released from the hospital Monday, to not move forward Monday with the legislation.
"Given the range of threats and challenges confronting Israel right now, it doesn’t make sense for Israeli leaders to rush this — the focus should be on pulling people together and finding consensus," Biden said, according to Axios.
Thousands of Israelis have protested for months against the judicial reform.
Demonstrations continued Monday as protesters block intersections. Videos show police deploying water cannons in front of the Knesset to disperse protesters. Five people in Jerusalem were hospitalized with minor injuries.
Other parts of Israel's judicial reform include giving elected officials more power to confirm Supreme Court justices, lowering the justices' retirement age to 67 and allowing the Knesset to override court decisions with a simple majority vote.