Israel Protest: What is happening?

27 Jul 2023  Read 1417 Views

Israel is currently in the midst of a political crisis sparked by the newly enacted law to reform the judicial system. The proposed reforms would give the government more control over the Supreme Court, which has been a thorn in the side of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his allies.

The reforms have been met with widespread protests, with thousands of Israelis taking to the streets to voice their opposition. The protests have also drawn criticism from international observers, who have warned that the reforms could undermine Israel's democracy. Amidst all the chaos, Benjamin Netanyahu remains adamant and has moved forward with the controversial bill. As the world watches closely, the questions loom large:

What sparked this crisis? What are the judicial reforms that have stoked the fires of protest? And, most importantly, what is at stake for Israel's cherished democracy? Let's dive into this blog and understand the current political turmoil in Israel and what ignited the spark of the largest protest country has ever witnessed.

What sparked the protest in Israel?

Israel's right-wing government, under the leadership of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, recently implemented the first part of an extensive plan aimed at weakening the country's judiciary. This move has triggered mass protests across the nation and deepened an ongoing political crisis.

The New Law and its Implications

  • The newly enacted law significantly curtails the courts' power to overrule government decisions based on the criterion of "reasonableness." Proponents of the law, including Mr Netanyahu and his allies, argue that the "reasonableness" doctrine is subjective and allows activist judges to impose their personal opinions on elected leaders. 

  • On the other hand, opponents of the legislation contend that it removes one of the few checks on executive power within Israel's governance structure.

  • Under this law, the courts are barred from applying the "reasonableness" doctrine to decisions made by the prime minister, the cabinet, and individual ministers. 

  • "Reasonableness" is a widely used legal standard in various judicial systems, including those in Australia, Britain, and Canada. A decision is considered unreasonable if the court determines that it was made without considering all relevant factors or if irrelevant factors were given too much weight in the decision-making process.

Potential Impact of the Law

  • By amending one of Israel's Basic Laws, which holds quasi-constitutional status, the government seeks to address the fury expressed by figures on the right who have accused the courts of interfering in government policies.

  • In the past, judges have relied on the "reasonableness" doctrine to influence several significant cases. For instance, they used it to prevent a prominent ultra-Orthodox politician from serving in Mr. Netanyahu's government due to a recent conviction for tax fraud. 

  • The doctrine was also instrumental in compelling a municipal council to construct a ritual bath for a local Jewish religious community and ordering Israel's defence minister to allow certain Palestinians to attend a joint Israeli-Palestinian memorial ceremony.

  • With the courts now deprived of this tool to challenge government decisions, Mr Netanyahu's government will likely find it easier to make controversial appointments to senior positions. However, it is essential to note that the courts can still invalidate decisions or limit their scope on other grounds, such as if they were passed by lawmakers with conflicts of interest.

Government’s side of the story

  • The government argues that the judiciary interferes too much with legislation, is biased in support of liberal issues, and is undemocratic in how judges are selected. 

  • They argue that the reforms are necessary to restore balance to the judicial system and to ensure that it is truly independent of the political process.

  • The government has defended the reforms, arguing that they are necessary to ensure that the judiciary is independent of the political process.

  • The government claims that the reforms are necessary to enhance the authority of the executive branch of government. They argue that elected officials are accountable to the citizens who voted for them and are best suited to make decisions on behalf of the nation

Opposition’s side of the story

  • The Opposition argues that the reforms will severely undermine Israel's democracy by weakening the judicial system, the only tool for keeping the government's use of its power in check. 

  • They also argue that the reforms are motivated by a desire to protect Netanyahu, who is currently facing severe corruption charges and trial for alleged corruption.

  • The Protestors argue that the newly enacted law jeopardises the age-old principles that existed in Israel.

  • The Protestors include lawyers, judges, academics, human rights activists, and ordinary citizens. The protests have been largely peaceful, making it the largest protest in the country’s history.

Political Dilemma

However, the opposition has accused the government of trying to stack the deck in its favour and undermining the rule of law. It is also being said that Benjamin Netanyahu has been forced to push this controversial bill by his allies who have supported him in establishing the coalition government in Israel. The allies are now threatening him to make the judicial reforms, or they will pull their support.

Did you know? In Israel, no party has ever won a simple majority in the history of Israel; every government has been a coalition government since the birth of this county.

Benjamin Netanyahu is caught between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea because, with the reforms, he will lose the public support and trust he gained over the years; without the reforms, he will lose the support of his allies and eventually, his government will collapse. Tell us in the comment section below what you guys think about the whole political turmoil and what should be done by Benjamin Netanyahu.


Israel finds itself in the midst of a complex and polarizing political crisis, triggered by the enactment of sweeping reforms aimed at reshaping its judiciary. The proposed changes, intended to grant the government greater control over the Supreme Court, have ignited widespread protests and drawn international attention. Israeli Government believes that Supreme Court in Israel is too powerful and such power should be curbed, but at what cost?

Recently, Israel's main labour union has threatened a general strike and protesters are vowing to step up their action, with no end to the turmoil in sight. The crisis has laid bare the deep divisions within Israeli society and underscored the significance of a strong, independent judiciary as a cornerstone of a thriving democracy.


Information in this blog is current as of the time of writing. For the latest information, please refer to reliable sources. 

FAQs ( Frequently Asked Questions)

  1. What sparked the political crisis in Israel?

  • The political crisis in Israel was ignited by the newly enacted law that aims to overhaul the judicial system. The reforms propose giving the government more control over the Supreme Court, leading to widespread protests and opposition from various segments of society.

  1. What is the main argument from the government's side regarding the reforms?

  • The government contends that the reforms are essential to enhance democracy by restoring balance to the judicial system and ensuring its independence from the political process. They believe that elected officials should be accountable for decision-making, rather than having unelected judges exert significant influence.

  1. Why are international observers concerned about the reforms?

  • International observers have raised concerns that the reforms could undermine Israel's democratic principles and the separation of powers. The potential consolidation of power in the executive branch at the expense of the judiciary is seen as a threat to democratic checks and balances.

  1. What are the key issues driving the protests?

  • The protests stem from concerns about the erosion of judicial independence and the potential consequences of granting the government more control over the judiciary. Opponents of the reforms fear that they could lead to an undue concentration of power and weaken the role of the courts as a check on government decisions.

  1. What is the current state of the crisis and its impact on Israel's governance?

  • The crisis remains ongoing, with both sides standing firm in their positions. The situation has created a political dilemma for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and the future of his government hangs in the balance. The protests show no signs of abating, and the nation faces a challenging path ahead in finding a resolution to this complex issue.

About the Author: Devansh Dixit | 35 Post(s)

Devansh is a 4th-year law student from Amity Law School Noida (Uttar Pradesh), currently interning at Finology Legal. He is specialising in business and commercial laws. 

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