Benjamin Netanyahu: 'I've dropped most contentious part of judicial revamp'

Netanyahu said he was no longer seeking to grant parliament the authority to overturn Supreme Court rulings


Right-wing Israelis attend a rally in support of the government's planned judicial overhaul, in Tel Aviv on March 30, 2023. Photo by Erik Marmor/Flash90 *** Local Caption *** ????? ?? ???? ?????? ??????? ????? ???? ?????? ???? ????

Benjamin Netanyahu has "thrown out" a key provision of his controversial judicial reform plan that has sparked one of the country's biggest ever protest movements.

The Israeli Prime Minister said he has removed a clause which aims to curb the supreme court's powers and give politicians a greater say in the selection of judges.

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Netanyahu said: “I already changed a few things right after the original proposal was put forward.

"I said that the idea of an override clause where the parliament, the Knesset, can override the decisions of the supreme court with a simple majority, I said, I threw that out."

When pressed whether the provision will be reintroduced in future, Netanyahu said: "People just don't know, they don't follow. I said it's out."

Netanyahu's remarks upset his far-right police minister Itamar Ben-Gvir, who accused the premier of caving to protesters. 

Ben-Gvir tweeted: “We were elected to bring governance and change, the reform is a cornerstone of this promise.”

The proposals sparked one of the biggest protest movements in Israel's history. Tens of thousands have taken to the streets since they were announced in January.

As a result, Netanyahu announced a "pause" to allow for talks on the reforms, which were moving through the Knesset.

In the interview he said he had sought to have a "broad consensus" with the opposition, but on June 14 Israel's two main opposition leaders, Yair Lapid and Benny Gantz, pulled out of negotiations.

Shifting to the proposed method of choosing judges, Netanyahu said, "it's not going to be the current structure, but it's not going to be the original structure."

Also in the interview, Netanyahu noted that Western anti-tank systems have found their way to Lebanese militant group Hezbollah.

Should Iron Dome, which has intercepted thousands of rockets, "fall in the hands of Iran, then millions of Israelis would be left defenceless and imperilled," he said.

"We're not neutral, we've expressed our sympathy and our position with Ukraine. But I'm saying there's a limit, limitations that we have, and concerns and interests that we have."

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