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Israeli democracy in danger, President Reuven Rivlin warns

In a stark intervention, Israel's president attacks Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government of encroaching on the Supreme Court's work

    President Reuven Rivlin opened the winter session of the Knesset on Monday
    President Reuven Rivlin opened the winter session of the Knesset on Monday Flash90

    Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin has warned its government against weakening the authority of its Supreme Court.

    Opening the new session of Knesset yesterday, he criticised the politicisation of Israeli institutions and efforts to weaken the “gatekeepers of democracy”.

    His remarks were in particularly seen as a response to moves by two of Israel’s most influential right-wing figures, Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, and Education Minister Naftali Bennett to curb the ability of the court to intervene.

    Mr Rivlin said: “A chasm lies between the responsible and brave effort to define, after years, the relationship between the legislative branch and the judiciary ... and the attempt to threaten the court, to weaken it as an institution.”

    But Culture Minister Miri Regev reacted sharply to his comments, saying it was the “ most un-statesman-like and undemocratic speech ever given by an Israeli president.”

    In his speech Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded in kind, attacking politicians and the media who were opposed to him.

    "When one side expresses their opinion it's freedom of speech, and when the other side does it's considered incitement.  That's the method," he said, according to Haaretz.

    "I have no respect for hypocrisy."

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