Jerusalem: Protests erupted in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv on July 24-25 over Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his government’s decision to curb the powers of Israel’s supreme court.
As the Opposition walked out of the Knesset, the Israeli parliament, the government passed the contentious bill that limits the supreme court’s powers to void some government decisions 64-0.
Protest leaders said growing numbers of military reservists would no longer report for duty if the government pressed ahead with its plans. Former top brass have also warned that Israel’s war-readiness, with Arab and Iranian adversaries spread across the Middle East, could be at risk.
Opposition leader Yair Lapid asked the reservists to hold off their no-show threat pending any Supreme Court ruling on appeals. Both a political watchdog group and the Israel Bar Association have filed challenges.
The Israel Medical Association ordered doctors to strike for 24 hours around the nation, though not in Jerusalem, which is the scene of escalating confrontations.
First elected to top office in 1996 and now in his sixth term, Netanyahu, 73, is facing his biggest domestic crisis.
Casting the reforms as a redressing of balance among branches of government, he sought to calm the opposition – as well as Israel’s Western allies – by saying he hoped to achieve consensus on any further legislation by November.