Israel has been divided after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu passed legislation that altered the High Court’s authority to alter government law and check government officials. One provision prevents the High Court from being able to force a Prime Minister or an Attorney General to step down.
The Court’s questions hinted they believed the legislation was personal, was intended as revenge against the court, and that this might violate an agreement Netanyahu made to recuse himself from any legislation connected to ongoing corruption charges against him.
Hundreds of anti-government protesters demonstrate near Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s home on Gaza Street in Jerusalem ahead of today’s key High Court of Justice hearing on petitions against the coalition’s recusal law, which shields prime ministers from being forced by the court or by the attorney general to step down.
The controversial law — an amendment to a quasi-constitutional Basic Law — is widely seen as designed, among other things, to protect Netanyahu from the consequences of a conflict of interest agreement he signed in 2020 that allowed him to serve as premier while on trial for corruption charges. Under that deal, Netanyahu committed not to involve himself in judicial matters that could affect his ongoing trial.
The current government has been pushing through a comprehensive overhaul of the judiciary and Attorney General Gali Baharav-Miara has declared Netanyahu to be in violation of the deal, though she has said she isn’t considering ordering the premier to recuse himself.