Israel’s Netanyahu defends judicial reform amid mass protests

JERUSALEM (AA): Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday defended a controversial judicial reform amid mass protests against the changes.

On Saturday, thousands of Israelis demonstrated in Tel Aviv to protest plans by the Netanyahu’s government to overhaul the legal system.

Proposed by Justice Minister Yariv Levin, the reform, if enacted, would be the most radical change ever in the system of government in Israel.

The proposed changes will severely limit the power of the Supreme Court of Justice, and give the government the power to choose judges, and end the appointment of legal advisers to ministries by the Attorney General.

However, Netanyahu, who is on trial for corruption, said that he has received a mandate from millions of voters to carry out such judicial reforms.

“Two months ago, there was a huge demonstration in Israel, the mother of all demonstrations. Millions of people took to the streets to vote in the elections,” Netanyahu tweeted.

“One of the main issues they voted for is to reform the judicial system. We received a mandate – and we will carry it out,” he added.

“We will complete legislating the reforms in a way that will correct what needs correcting, will totally protect individual rights and will restore the public’s faith in the justice system that so much requires this reform,” Netanyahu vowed.

Netanyahu’s government was sworn in on December 29, following elections in November, which gave his right-wing bloc a simple majority to form a new government.