Latest World News: Israeli parliament passes legislature to shrink judiciary

By passing a key section of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s controversial judicial reform plans, Israel’s parliament has limited the ability of the country’s Supreme Court to overrule decisions made by government ministers. The new measure passed 64 to 0 as opposition lawmakers stormed out of the chamber and abstained from voting.

The development came amid mass protests against the proposed changes across Israel. While critics allege the sweeping reforms would undermine democracy and fuel institutional corruption, the government and conservatives say the changes are needed to return power to elected representatives instead of interventionist judges.

Under the new law, the Supreme Court cannot overrule the national government using the legal standard of reasonableness, a concept judges previously used to overrule decisions made by lawmakers and ministers.

A recent report from The New York Times describes reasonableness as follows: It is a legal standard used by many legal systems, including Australia, Britain and Canada. A decision is considered unreasonable if a court finds that it was made without considering all relevant factors or without giving relevant weight to each factor, or by giving too much weight to irrelevant factors.

Netanyahu’s government argued that the change would help foster democracy in the country as it gives more power to elected lawmakers over unelected judges. Opponents, however, see it as a move that would help the far-right government adopt orthodox and illiberal policies without any interference from the judiciary.

What other reforms are proposed?

For now, the ruling coalition has decided to only enact legislation concerning the legal concept of reasonableness other reforms remain on the back burner due to the large-scale protests that took place in March.

The government first officially announced its intention to change the judicial system in January. In addition to reasonableness, three other major reforms have been proposed. First, the government wants to allow the 120-member parliament, or Knesset, to overrule any Supreme Court judgment by a simple majority of 61 votes, unless those decisions are unanimous.

Second, legislation that would give legislators a greater role in the appointment of Supreme Court justices. Now, a committee of professionals, judges, and lawmakers elevates judges to the highest court. The new change would give lawmakers a majority on the committee, with most coming from the right-wing and religiously conservative ruling coalition, according to an Associated Press report.

And third, a new measure that would allow ministers to choose their own legal advisers instead of using independent professionals.

Why is Netanyahu’s government changing the Israeli justice system?

Conservatives and the right in Israel have long viewed the justice system as a left-wing obstacle to its legislative agenda. For example, the far-right ruling coalition is seeking more power in a bid to overturn court judgments that expanded social reforms to support the LGBTQ community and prevented previous governments from building Israeli outposts on private Palestinian land. Essentially, they want to rein in Israel’s judiciary, known for its fierce independence, with a series of laws.

How have opponents of the legislation reacted?

Since there are not enough Israeli opposition lawmakers in parliament to stop the reforms, non-parliamentary organizations have taken to the streets. Since December last year, when the Netanyahu coalition came to power, large protests have taken place in different cities across the country.

In Modany, refreshment protests erupted moments after the new legislature was enacted. The NYT reported that protesters blocked a main thoroughfare in Jerusalem, where the Israeli parliament is located, as protest leaders called on opponents of the legislation to take to the streets wherever they are.

Military reservists, tech leaders, academics, senior doctors and union leaders who united earlier this year to force Netanyahu to suspend reforms for a few months are again threatening to strike.

Meanwhile, the Movement for Quality Government, a prominent Israeli rights watchdog, approached the Supreme Court to strike down the new legislature, setting the stage for a possible constitutional crisis, the NYT said in a report.

(With contributions from The New York Times)

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An Overview of Global Events in 2023

In 2023, the world witnessed a myriad of events that left a lasting impact on global affairs. From political developments and economic shifts to environmental challenges and breakthroughs in science and technology, the year was marked by significant changes and a sense of urgency for collective action. Here’s an overview of some of the latest world news in 2023.

Political Unrest and Diplomatic Strides:
In the political arena, several regions experienced unrest and geopolitical tensions. The ongoing conflict in the Middle East continued to dominate headlines, with efforts towards peace and stability remaining elusive. However, there were also moments of diplomatic breakthroughs as nations engaged in dialogues to ease tensions and work towards lasting solutions.

Economic Transformations:
The global economy faced both challenges and opportunities. Trade disputes between major powers affected markets, while some countries grappled with debt crises. On the other hand, emerging economies showed resilience and promising growth, fueling optimism for a more balanced global economic landscape.

Technological Advancements:
Innovation surged forward in the tech industry, with breakthroughs in artificial intelligence, renewable energy, and space exploration. Quantum computing achieved milestones, promising radical transformations across industries. Renewable energy sources gained traction, with many countries setting ambitious goals to combat climate change.

Climate Crisis and Environmental Resilience:
As the climate crisis intensified, extreme weather events wreaked havoc in various parts of the world. Wildfires, hurricanes, and floods reminded humanity of the urgent need for climate action. In response, governments and communities across the globe doubled down on efforts to reduce carbon emissions, invest in sustainable infrastructure, and protect biodiversity.

Health and Pandemic Management:
Health remained a global priority as countries continued to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. With the emergence of new variants, vaccination efforts and public health measures remained crucial to curbing the spread of the virus. There were also significant advancements in medical research and technology, offering hope for better preparedness in handling future health crises.

Sports and Cultural Milestones:
Amidst the challenges, the world found moments of joy and unity through sports and culture. International sporting events brought together athletes from diverse backgrounds, promoting solidarity and camaraderie. Cultural exchanges and celebrations showcased the richness of human diversity and fostered mutual understanding.

In conclusion, the year 2023 was a dynamic period filled with significant events that shaped the course of history. From political unrest to technological advancements and environmental challenges, the world witnessed the complexities of the global landscape. While obstacles remained, there were also encouraging developments and collaborative efforts towards a more sustainable, peaceful, and prosperous future for all nations. As we move forward, the lessons learned from these events serve as a reminder of the importance of collective action and cooperation to address shared global challenges.