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Israel’s autocratic turn

By Ido Baum

15 Feb 2023 · 4 min read

Editor's Note

A law expert weighs in on how Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is planning constitutional and legal reforms that will strip the Israeli judiciary of its powers to check the executive branch.

TEL AVIV – After five consecutive elections in three years, four of which ended in political stalemate, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu managed to form a coalition of right-wing and ultra-Orthodox parties late last year. But instead of restoring stability to Israel’s increasingly dysfunctional political system, Netanyahu is using his sixth term in office to promote a blitz of constitutional reforms that, if enacted, would turn Israel into an autocracy.

A few election cycles ago, in 2020, the Israeli Supreme Court unanimously ruled that Netanyahu is not barred from serving as prime minister as long as he refrains from using that position to influence the outcome of his ongoing corruption trial. But Netanyahu, who has continued to attack the prosecutors in his trial for allegedly conspiring to keep him out of office, did not allow this constraint to stop him from proposing a judicial coup.

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