Sept 19

👉🏽 PM Netanyahu, in a conversation with Elon Musk in California Monday:

Netanyahu said Israel is a democracy, but that the courts made it less of a democracy. He said he was strengthening the country’s democracy by putting checks and balances on the Supreme Court. “Israel was, is, and will always be a robust democracy. It’s we the people, not we the elites. We the people rule… We have, in many ways, 15 unelected officials — by the way, gifted people, but they replace the government. They’re sort of unelected, and they decide everything. That’s not exactly democracy.”

He called his judicial overhaul a ‘mistake’ that would ‘reject one imbalance by creating another’. He said the only additional overhaul legislation he will enact is to change the judicial composition committee that specifies how Israel chooses judges, calling this “a minor correction.” (The minor correction would give the Coalition near-complete power over all judicial appointments.)

Netanyahu said he rejected the override clause that would make permanent changes that will be unable to be overturned (but, in July he had told members of his coalition that override is still on the table).

About the protesters, he said many of them “don’t know what they’re protesting about, and there’s a concerted effort to make sure they don’t know.”

On other fronts:

👉🏽 Following last week’s half-billion shekel budget allocation for Haredi education, this week the Coalition approved an additional 149 million shekels for the Chief Rabbinate and for renovation of Jewish sage tombstones. Last week’s budgets slashed to accommodate the additional Haredi expenditures included NIS 327,000 ($85,000) for Holocaust survivors, NIS 22 million ($5.8 million) for childcare subsidies, and NIS 18 million ($4.7 million) for disabled care, according to Times of Israel, with Maariv also noting cuts from National Security, and 131 million from the Ministry of Defense.

👉🏽 Can a basic law, or amendment to a basic law, be passed solely for a personal reason? That is the question the courts will decide when they rule on annulling the incapacitation/recusal on September 28.

Yesterday, Attorney-General Gali Baharav-Miara submitted her views, that the Incapacitation Law amendment 12 in “Basic Law: The Government” was solely to influence PM Netanyahu’s pending legal case and that personal reasons are insufficient for Basic Laws.

Baharav-Miara had earlier requested that the court invalidate the Basic Law. They rejected invalidation, but postponed the law’s enactment to the next Knesset.

👉🏽 Maariv reporting that 80 former Israeli security officials delivered a scathing letter to the US Senate Foreign Affairs and Security Committee, saying PM Netanyahu is “carrying out actions that disintegrate the IDF.”

👉🏽 Rallies and demonstrations opposing judicial overhaul greeted PM Netanyahu around New York City today. Protests are planned for at his hotel, in Times Square near where the United Nations General Assembly is occurring, and tonight at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

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