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Thousands of Israelis clash with police after controversial new 'dictatorship' law passed

NewsThousands of Israelis clash with police after controversial new 'dictatorship' law passed

Israeli police clashed with hoards of protesters last night after parliament introduced controversial news laws which will curtail the power of the country’s Supreme Court.

The new law is part of a wider reform package and will prevent the court from overruling the Government if it perceives it to have acted unreasonably.

Water cannons were fired at demonstrators in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv who were obstructing highways.

Critics of the reforms claim that the move threatens the health of Israeli democracy and there are plans by opposition politicians to petition the Supreme Court to annul the new law.

Despite Netanyahu’s landmark victory in the country’s parliament – The Knesset – the Histadrut – the country’s largest trade union – has threatened a general strike. Meanwhile thousands of military reservists, including pilots, have pledged not to serve if the law is not struck down.

Not to be perturbed, Mr Netanyahu has insisted that the new law is necessary for the Government to “carry out policy in line with the decision of the majority of the citizens of the country”.

He did however note that he was willing to resume talks with the opposition up until November to find an agreement that all sides were satisfied with.

According to police, 22 people were arrested during the protests against the reform.

The law passed through the Knesset a resounding 64 votes to 0. However the law’s easy passage through the chamber doesn’t paint the full picture, as opposition politicians boycotted the vote in protest.

Ironically, given so many people feel that the law is unreasonable, the bill being voted on by representatives was called the “reasonableness” bill.

The argument advanced by Netanyahu and his allies is that the courts have been overreaching and preventing his government from acting in accordance with the will of the Israeli people.

However critics maintain that the law is nothing short of a power grab and an attempt to sideline an authority that checks the Government’s power.

The White House described the passage of the bill as “unfortunate” – a significant statement given the United States’ close historical relationship with the state of Israel.

Joe Biden himself has hit out against the new law dubbing it “divisive”.

A protester lying in the street told the BBC he was rallying “dictatorship” and noted that his grandfather was a Nazi codebreaker at the UK’s legendary Bletchley Park.

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