Israeli lawmakers on Thursday, passed a law to make it harder to declare Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as unfit to serve.
The first in a series of laws comprising the far-right government’s controversial judicial overhaul plan.
The bill was passed early in the morning after a heated overnight debate, with 61 members of the 120-seat Knesset (parliament) voting in favour and 47 against.
The remaining lawmakers either abstained or were not present for the vote.
It was approved despite warnings from Israel’s Attorney General Gali Baharav-Miara, who said the law would shield the incumbent Netanyahu from being ousted over his corruption trial.
Under the new controversial law, a prime minister could only be declared unfit and forced to step down if three-quarters of the government’s ministers confirmed so due to the prime minister’s physical or psychological incapacity.
The new legislation was an amendment to a quasi-constitutional basic law that provided guidelines for dealing with a prime minister who was unable to perform their duties.
The vote came only hours before Israelis launch another day of nationwide protests against the judicial overhaul.
Since the start of 2023, hundreds of thousands of Israelis have taken to the streets across the country in weekly protests to oppose the government’s plan to weaken the Supreme Court.
The protest was also against the expansion of the powers of the government over the judiciary.
The crisis had sparked nationwide turmoil, with calls from within the military’s elite units to refuse to show up for duty in case the overhaul would be approved, unnerved high-tech investors, and drawn international criticism.