Netanyahu Faces Pressure from Biden to Reconsider Judicial Overhaul

( – US President Joe Biden counseled Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on July 23 against pushing legislation on a controversial judicial overhaul package. These reforms have already led to massive protests in Israel, in what has been described as the greatest political crisis that the Jewish state has experienced in this century.

According to an Axios report, President Biden told Netanyahu that he believes that the judicial reform he’s proposing is becoming “more divisive.” The US commander-in-chief also told the prime minister that it “doesn’t make sense” that Israeli leaders are rushing this, considering Israel’s “threats and challenges.” Finally, President Biden told Netanyahu that his government should be focused on “finding consensus” and pulling all Israelis “together.”

As reported by Politico, a senior official from the State Department told the media outlet that members of the Biden administration are feeling worried about the reform. The person said that the White House believes these types of “fundamental changes” need to be pursued with a broad “base of support” to prevent chaos.

Over the last few weeks, the Israeli Prime Minister has resurrected the controversial bill, after pausing it in the spring after massive protests. Tens of thousands of protesters took the streets of Israel’s main cities, protesting against a reform that many believe could protect Netanyahu against the corruption probes he’s facing.

The prime minister’s package of judicial reforms would strip the independence of Israel’s main court. It would also defang the Jewish state’s courts, as the government will be able to pass legislation that judges won’t be able to review. Netanyahu and his government have defended this move by claiming that the bill is crucial to curb the power of what he calls “rebel judges.”

The Israeli opposition said that this legislation would eventually undermine the country’s democratic nature as it will eliminate constitutional safeguards. Some former prime ministers have also criticized the legislation. One of these was Ehud Barak, who said in February that Netanyahu is attacking the “soul and nature” of Israeli democracy. He even called for “civil disobedience” if the bill was finally approved.

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