Tel AVIV /pnn/
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s push for judicial reforms is facing more headwinds, with the regime’s attorney-general now accusing him of breaking the law by getting directly involved in the judicial overhaul plan.
Gali Baharav-Miara said in a letter that Netanyahu has ignored a conflict of interest arising from his ongoing trial for corruption. She said Netanyahu has to stay out of the judicial overhaul package, which has been handled by Justice Minister Yariv Levin.
"The legal situation is clear: you must refrain from any involvement in initiatives to change the judiciary. Your statement last night and any action you take in violation of this matter is illegal," Baharav-Miara said.
The letter came in reaction to Netanyahu’s statements on Thursday, in which he declared that he would try to pass a central part of the overhaul package next week.
Netanyahu also said he was putting aside all other considerations and would do "anything it takes" to reach a solution.
Following the Baharav-Miara’s letter, an unnamed source close to Netanyahu said in a message distributed by the ruling Likud party that the prime minister had not violated any laws or conflict of interest agreements in his Thursday remarks.
An Israeli watchdog group said it would file a motion for contempt of the court and demand that Netanyahu be subjected to sanctions as stipulated by law, including heavy fines and imprisonment.
The judicial overhaul package is now facing intensifying protests, bringing tens of thousands of people to the streets and opening cracks in the right-wing coalition led by Netanyahu.
The proposed changes give the Israeli cabinet sway in choosing judges and limit the Supreme Court’s power to strike down laws.
Netanyahu’s allies say the plan will rain in Supreme Court overreach and restore balance between the branches of the regime. Critics say it would weaken the courts and harm the economy.
The latest controversy surrounding the overhaul plan followed Netanyahu to London on Friday, where he met British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. Hundreds of people stood outside 10 Downing Street waving Israeli flags and banging drums. Some could be heard shouting "Netanyahu go to jail, you can't speak for Israel."