(Photo Credit: Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)
On 5 January, Israel’s justice minister Yariv Levin announced plans to implement legal reforms that would limit the authority and jurisdiction of the national supreme court.
A day prior, Levin referred to these plans as a start to a “constitution revolution.” Levin is a part of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party, which has assumed control over Tel Aviv after winning the majority of seats in Israel’s parliament during the November 2022 elections.
Levin further elaborated, “judges in Jerusalem… but there is also a Knesset in Jerusalem and a cabinet. And they are the clear expression of the people’s democratic choice.”
Netanyahu believes introducing these reforms would guarantee the balance of the three branches.
Opposition members of the Knesset (MK), such as the former Israeli prime minister Yair Lapid, questioned the validity of such reforms, warning that the new government threatens democracy in Israel.
Towards the end of last month, over 1,000 Israeli air force officials sent letters to the Israeli supreme court, urging that it halts the formation of Netanyahu’s coalition government, claiming that the new government would destroy “Israeli democracy.”
Not long after their written demand to denounce the government, the current Israeli army chief of staff, Aviv Kochavi, and US Jewish leaders issued a similar outcry.
Moreover, the representatives singled out Itamar Ben-Gvir and Bezalel Smotrich, whom they regard as the pillars of the negative change awaiting Israel.
Smotrich himself issued a harsh-toned statement against the Israeli army chief of staff on 7 December, accusing him of creating strife between the political and military establishment.
“Whoever wants to keep the IDF unified as the army of the people needs to legislate a minimum ten-year cooling off period for chiefs of staff,” Smotrich said, ridiculing Kochavi for interfering in politics as an army commander and reminding him of the law.