Jul 27, 2023

Israel’s Left-Wing Supreme Court Pushes The Country To A Constitutional Crisis

Who holds the ultimate authority in Israel's government?
Israel’s Left-Wing Supreme Court Pushes The Country To A Constitutional Crisis
Photo by Timo Wagner / Unsplash

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What’s happening: Israel's Supreme Court is set to review appeals against a new parliamentary law aimed at curbing the court’s broad powers. This move pushes Israel into uncharted waters and could potentially spark a constitutional crisis. If the court overturns the restrictions, the government’s next steps are unpredictable.

  • Catch up: Israel's Supreme Court wields much more power than its U.S. counterpart, with the ability to block any policy due to its “reasonableness” clause. Unlike the U.S., where elected officials control justice selection, Israel's court oversees this process, making it largely immune to voter influence.

Reform: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's reform efforts aim to scrap the "reasonableness" standard and boost court diversity, making it more voter-accountable. So far, only laws addressing the "unreasonableness" standard have been enacted, with other reforms pending.

Uncharted territory: Constitutional crises occur when a government's functioning is challenged, and there's no precedent or protocol to resolve it. The Supreme Court's overturning the parliament’s move to limit its power would raise a critical question: Who holds the ultimate authority in Israel's government?

What's next: The resolution to Israel's impending constitutional crisis is uncertain. It could potentially be addressed through negotiation or compromise among government factions.

  • Remember: Israel's Court, part of the left's coalition, wields significant influence. Backed by the Military, economic sectors, and unions, it's a formidable force in this power struggle, and restrictions on its power could lead to mass protests. Israel's military reservists notably threatened to abstain from national defense duties, protesting Netanyahu's reform efforts.
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