Israelis protest against overhaul plans ahead of key court decision



Tens of thousands of Israelis protested in cities across the country on Saturday ahead of a key decision by the Supreme Court over legislation passed by the coalition which stripped the court of some of its oversight powers.

Earlier this year, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's far-right coalition presented plans to strip the court of much of its powers with a package of legislation but, due to overwhelming public pressure, passed only one part of the plan.

Proponents say the judicial overhaul plans would restore balance to the branches of authority but critics say it removes vital checks on government powers.

The latest legislation, an amendment to one of Israel's basic laws, removes the court's power to strike down government decisions or appointments on the basis of being "unreasonable."

The overhaul plans have sparked weekly nationwide protests but the latest demonstrations held special significance as they came before the Supreme Court, for the first time in Israeli history, convenes its entire 15-judge bench on September 12 to hear an appeal against the amendment.