More Israelis seek foreign passports after judicial overhaul: Report
Israelis are calling the far-right government's judicial overhaul a threat to Israeli 'democracy'
By News Desk - February 26 2023

(Photo Credit: Getty Images)

According to a report released by Israeli Channel 12 on 24 February, there has been a drastic increase in Israelis seeking to obtain foreign passports following the new Israeli coalition government’s recent announcement of imposing judicial reforms.

According to a political analyst who corresponded with Channel 12, ever since the judicial announcement, Israeli citizens are growing more and more apprehensive over their government’s recent decisions; hence the percentage of applications for foreign nationalities also increased in Israel, adding that “people in Israel are preparing the ground for emigration.”

This report was released days after former Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett warned Channel 12 that Israel is currently facing the prospects of a potential “civil war.”

According to the Palestine Chronicle, the number of Israelis seeking European citizenship has increased significantly since the 1 November elections in 2022. Israelis applying for French passports increased by 13 percent, Portuguese by 68 percent, and Polish and German passports by 10 percent over the last two months.

In the past few weeks, Israel has faced nationwide protests over the government’s decision to limit the authority of Tel Aviv’s judiciary and replace the court judges with individuals more closely aligned with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s coalition government. 

Israel’s Knesset held its first reading of the controversial bill to reform the Israeli judiciary on 21 February. Sixty-three voted in favor of the bill, and 47 voted against it, with no abstentions. Three readings are required for the bill to be approved, however.

A day earlier, the Knesset had voted to move forward with the judicial overhaul, sparking opposition in parliament and in the streets, where thousands marched in objection to what some Israelis call a threat to their ‘democracy.’

Many Israelis have accused Netanyahu of seeking these reforms in order to weaken the Supreme Court, thereby allowing the prime minister to give himself immunity from prosecution, as he has been embroiled in a number of corruption scandals over the past few years.

The cases against Netanyahu at the high court have sparked fears among his allies that he could be declared unfit for office, prompting his far-right Likud party to submit a bill that would ‘drastically’ limit the grounds for his disqualification. The bill states that only the prime minister, or a 75 percent majority of his cabinet, could declare Netanyahu unfit for office, and only for physical and mental health reasons.

This has reinforced the widespread fear that Netanyahu and his government pose a threat to ‘Israeli democracy.’

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