top of page


Bibi’s Power Play: Judicial Reforms Threaten Israel

Bibi’s Power Play: Judicial Reforms Threaten Israel

Bibi’s Power Play: Judicial Reforms Threaten Israel


Contributing Writer

March 2, 2023

Maadhavan Prasanna '25

Israel has long been a relatively prosperous nation, with strong economic growth, thriving tech and defense industries, and the ability to defend itself from aggressors. At the core of this strength stands the secular judicial system which has, until today, been able to advocate for justice and freedom. This system has enabled Israel to flourish, as the efficiency through which internal conflicts were resolved allowed allies to trust Israel’s stability.

The country’s prosperity and strength is now at risk because of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu current attempts to reform the judiciary, which amounts to nothing less than a coup with the potential to cripple the Israeli state as we know it.

So far, three reforms have received preliminary approval. First, Netanyahu aims to limit the Supreme Court’s ability to act as a check and balance by providing the Knesset, Israel’s 120- seat parliament, the ability to overturn Court decisions by a simple majority of 61 votes.

This means that the judicial branch will no longer be able to effectively push back against government actions, because the Knesset, currently controlled by Netanyahu’s allies, will be able to overturn rulings to suit his party’s political agendas.

Second, Netanyahu is demanding that the Supreme Court no longer review Israel’s Basic Laws, which contain principles that define the role of the government in society. This will diminish Israel’s system of checks and balances, because even when Basic Laws are seen as detrimental to the people, the Supreme Court will have no legal authority to intervene.

Last but certainly not least, Netanyahu plans to alter the system for appointing judges to give the government, rather than the Supreme Court, control over the vote. The current system of incumbent justices being able to have a say in the selection of their successors is positive, because it enables qualified legal figures to help ensure the legacy of the Court.

There is evidence of ulterior motives behind the proposed reforms — the Prime Minister’s party is currently seeking to push through a set of controversial laws, including a ban on conscripting Orthodox Jews, a major government constituency, into the military.

Netanyahu has personal motives, too. His long-standing resentment of the court is public knowledge, and it is at least partially motivated by his ongoing trial for corruption, which the court refused to intervene for Netanyahu.

The implications for the state of the Israeli are immense. The loss of an impartial Supreme Court would deal a great blow to Israeli civil society, and would be an appaling effect of politicization and governmental overreach. These changes will also affect the prosperity of Israeli business.

In describing the implications of the decision, Thomas L. Friedman, a Pulitzer winning journalist and expert on the Middle East, told The New York Times, “If foreign companies had disagreements with the Israeli government over the firing of employees or the land authority over property or the customs authority over imports, they knew that they could go to the courts and get a fair hearing. If this judicial coup goes through… the courts and the government become the same. Where will you go to get a fair hearing?”

Friedman raises a valid question. Israel’s economic prosperity is defined and driven by foreign investment in its startup culture, so losing an independent justice system would cause private investors to think twice about the security of their investments in Israel.

These judicial reforms also threaten regional stability by taking away a key Western partner’s reliability at a pivotal time. Israel is just starting to normalize diplomatic relationships with Arab neighbors such as the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia under the Abraham Accords, and these reforms will tarnish their international image.

Allowing extremist political parties to continue their disturbing ascendance will severely damage Israel’s credibility, particularly on rule of law issues. The international community needs to unite behind the Israeli people in opposing Netanyahu’s blatant attempt at expanding parliamentary and personal power to unhealthy levels.

Recent protests in Jerusalem over these judicial reforms drew over 100,000 civically-concerned Israelis. If action is not taken now, Israel’s prosperity will be diminished, its people will suffer, and most importantly, the Middle East and the world at large will lose a key ally.

Maadhavan Prasanna is a contributing writer for The Record.

December 7th

Read the latest issue of The Record as it appears in print.

The Latest

Our Picks

Debate Team Dominates Home Tournament in Historic Season

What Makes a Good All-School Speaker?

Where Does Our Trash Go?

There Ain’t No Such Thing as a Free Lunch

The Early Bird is Sleep Deprived

Conservation is Fashionable at Vintage Closet

Inside the College Recruitment Process with Committed Athletes

Renovations to Memorial Dorm Forces School to Adjust Rooming Plans

Courage Garden Unveiled During Emotional Ceremony

Editor's Note: This article was recovered from The Record's online archive. There may be stylistic and visual errors that interrupt the reading experience, as well as missing photos. To read this article as it appeared in print, view our print archives.

More reads


Editorials are written by members of The Record's Executive Board. They typically center on issues related to the school or student life on campus.

bottom of page