Netanyahu Vows to Defend Israel's Courts, but Says Repairs Need to Be Made

At weekly cabinet meeting, PM Netanyahu says he will act against bills that could impair the independence of Israel's court system.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday that he would defend Israel's courts but that there were certain distortions that need to be fixed.

"The state of Israel was founded as a Jewish and democratic state," Netanyahu said at the start of the weekly cabinet meeting. "Israeli democracy is strong but that strength does not exempt us from acting to preserve it."

Benjamin Netanyahu - Emil Salman
Emil Salman

On Saturday, Netanyahu voiced his opposition to a bill that would limit public access to High Court petitions. Earlier this month, the prime minister ordered the shelving of a bill which would have required that judicial candidates face confirmation hearings before a Knesset committee.

Netanyahu said on Sunday that he would continue to act similarly when bills reach his desk that "could impair the independence of courts in Israel".

"I want to clear: the courts in Israel are among the cornerstones of Israeli democracy," Netanyahu said. "They are an important institution, a healthy and vital continuation of our democratic life here. This does not contradict, however, the need to correct distortions that have entered in our public systems over the years. We will fix them responsibly, deliberately and seriously, and not get carried away without inhibitions."

In a short statement released by the Prime Minister's Office on Saturday, Netanyahu said that he would object to any bill that would limit the independence of Israel's courts.

קראו כתבה זו בעברית: נתניהו על סערת החקיקה: אגן על בתי המשפט, אך קיים צורך לתקן עיוותים