Coronavirus, Democracy, Populism, & Domestic Politics, Middle East

Israel’s Supreme Court Loses Its Patience With Netanyahu

March 24, 2020
By Elena Chachko | Lawfare

As the COVID-19 pandemic rages around the world, Israel’s year-and-a-half-long constitutional crisis appears to be approaching its apex. Invoking the need for an emergency response to the coronavirus, caretaker Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his proxies in the Israeli Parliament, the Knesset, have taken dramatic steps. Effectively, they attempted to make a temporary holdover government, which lacks the support of the majority of the current Knesset, the sole fully functioning branch in the country’s constitutional system.

Netanyahu has tried plenty of risky maneuvers in the past. This time, however, he and his supporters appear to have gone too far. The Supreme Court has ruled that the obstruction of the newly elected Knesset’s work—against the will of the majority of its members—must come to an end. Astonishingly, compliance with the court’s ruling is not at all guaranteed. At stake are the basic tenets of Israel’s constitutional regime—and possibly Israeli democracy itself.

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