Israel’s Supreme Court heard a petition on Thursday challenging a law that shields PM, Benjamin Netanyahu. From being removed from office amid allegations of a conflict of interest due to his ongoing corruption trial.
In March, Netanyahu’s governing coalition passed a law limiting the circumstances under which a prime minister can be ousted from office to cases of medical and mental incapacitation. The law effectively shields Netanyahu from being declared unfit for office due to his ongoing corruption trial and conflict of interest claims. Critics argue that the legislation is specifically tailored to protect Netanyahu. Moreover, fosters an environment conducive to corruption.
Outside the Supreme Court in Jerusalem, a few dozen people staged a protest. Meanwhile, judges considered the petition filed by the Movement for Quality Government in Israel.
Under the law enacted earlier this year, a prime minister can only be deemed unfit for a ruling based on health or mental reasons. The decision to declare a prime minister unfit lies solely with the premier or the government, not with the attorney general.
Netanyahu currently faces charges of fraud, breach of trust, and accepting bribes in three separate cases.
The Supreme Court hearing took place amidst efforts by Netanyahu and his allies to pass a series of judicial overhaul bills. Aimed at curbing the power of the Supreme Court and granting the ruling coalition control over judge appointments. The timeline for the court’s decision on this matter remains uncertain.
The proposed judicial overhaul has sparked extensive protests in a polarized Israel. Opponents argue that the measures will centralize power within the executive branch and erode existing checks and balances.
Netanyahu and his allies, who assumed power in December after Israel’s fifth election in less than four years. Assert that these changes are necessary to rein. In what they perceive as an overly activist court comprised of unelected judges. The ongoing debate over judicial reforms has heightened divisions within the nation prompting significant public discourse and engagement.