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Israel’s Judicial Overhaul: Domestic and International Implications

Israel’s Judicial Overhaul: Domestic and International Implications

Date(s) - 03/23/2023
10:00 am - 11:30 am

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Arab Center Washington DC

Online Event

Over the past two and a half months, tens of thousands of Israelis have been protesting a contentious judicial overhaul proposed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his far-right coalition government, a proposal that has plunged the country into a domestic crisis and raised alarm in the West, including among the Jewish diaspora. The plan is being spearheaded by Minister of Justice Yariv Levin and Religious Zionism Party legislator Simcha Rothman, who consider the Israeli legal system to be too liberal and secular and thus heavily biased against the ruling radical right and its allies within the settler movement and the ultrareligious community.

The proposed changes seek to weaken the Supreme Court by allowing a simple majority vote in the Knesset to override court rulings, denying the court the authority to review Basic Laws, granting politicians the power to appoint judges, and instituting other significant changes to the country’s judiciary. Although the Netanyahu government is presenting the overhaul as a reform measure meant to restore checks and balances to the branches of government, its legislative plan would enact sweeping changes to the courts, weaken their independence, and limit personal freedoms, in addition to benefiting Netanyahu as he faces trial on corruption charges.

Arab Center Washington DC is convening a panel of experts to unpack recent events in Israel and their implications for the country as a whole, for Palestinians in particular, for Israeli relations with the global Jewish diaspora, and for US-Israel ties. Panelists will explore the legal dimensions of the judicial overhaul and the future of Israeli “democracy” in light of both the proposal and the occupation, and will analyze the potential impact of the Israeli government’s policies and legislative proposals for Palestinians in the Occupied Territories and for Palestinian citizens of Israel. The discussion will also include an assessment of the implications for Israel’s relations with its traditional western allies, particularly the United States and the European Union.

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