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Israel’s top court strikes down key legal reform

Israel’s Supreme Court has struck down a highly disputed law passed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing government that rolled back some of the court’s power and caused nationwide protests.

The change was part of a broader judicial overhaul proposed by Mr Netanyahu and his coalition of religious and nationalist partners which caused a deep rift in Israel and concern over the country’s democratic principles among Western allies.

The court decision again captured headlines in Israel, where news coverage has been dominated by war since Hamas carried out a deadly rampage in southern Israel on 7 October.

The new legislation brought before the court had removed one, but not all, of the tools the Supreme Court has for quashing government and ministers’ decisions.

It took away the court’s ability to void such decisions that it deemed “unreasonable”.

There have been widespread protests against the law

Eight of 15 judges ruled in favour of nullifying the law, the Supreme Court said.

In a summary of its decision, the court said the majority of judges ruled to strike down the law because it would severely damage Israel’s democracy.

Mr Netanyahu’s Likud party said the decision was unfortunate and that it opposed “the will of the people for unity, especially during wartime”.

Justice Minister Yariv Levin criticised the judges for “taking into their hands all the powers, which in a democratic regime are divided in a balanced way between the three branches” of government.

Mr Levin, the architect of the judicial overhaul, said on social media that the ruling “takes away from millions of citizens their voice”.

Opposition politicians praised the ruling.

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