Israel’s parliament to hold final votes on ratifying Supreme Court bill next week

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Israel’s parliament will hold final votes next week on a highly-disputed bill that would limit the Supreme Court’s power, according to a Knesset statement on Wednesday.

The proposal by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s far-right coalition has sparked mass-protests nationwide and concern among foreign allies for Israel's democratic health.

Netanyahu has sought sweeping changes to the judiciary since returning to power late last year atop a religious-nationalist government. Since the uproar, many of them have been delayed.

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The bill scheduled for discussion and ratification on Sunday and Monday would curb the Supreme Court's ability to void government and minister decisions or appointments by stripping the judges of the power to deem such decisions “unreasonable.”

Proponents of the change say the Supreme Court has become too interventionist and that the change will facilitate effective governance.

Opponents say it will weaken the Supreme Court, which in a country that has no constitution and a one-chamber parliament that is dominated by the government - has a critical role in protecting civil rights and liberties.

Washington has urged Netanyahu, who is on trial for corruption charges he denies, to seek consensus on judicial reforms.

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