Israel’s Netanyahu moving ahead on legal overhaul despite outcry

TEL AVIV, Israel — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday his government plans to charge ahead with an overhaul of the country’s judicial system, despite fierce

criticism from top legal officials and protests against the changes that drew tens of thousands of people. Netanyahu, who is on trial for corruption, has made the legal

changes the centerpiece of his new government’s agenda and the surging opposition to them is presenting an early challenge for the Israeli leader. Opponents say the changes could

help Netanyahu evade conviction in his corruption trial, or make the court case disappear altogether. The overhaul would weaken the power of the Supreme Court, granting

legislators the ability to pass laws the court has struck down with a simple majority, as well as give the government greater power over the appointment of judges and limit the

independence of government legal advisers. The proposed changes have sparked an outcry from the Supreme Court’s top justice, who in rare criticism called the overhaul an

“unbridled attack on the justice system.” The country’s attorney general has also spoken out against the plan, as have many of her predecessors, and tens of thousands protested

the proposed changes in Tel Aviv on Saturday. Despite the opposition, Netanyahu told a meeting of his Cabinet that voters cast their ballots in November elections in

support of his campaign promise to overhaul the justice system. “We will complete legislating the reforms in a way that will correct what needs correcting, will totally

protect individual rights and will restore the public’s faith in the justice system that so much requires this reform,” Netanyahu said.