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In ‘ABC News’ interview, Netanyahu dismisses fears over Israeli democracy

The Israeli prime minister described his coalition’s proposed changes to the Supreme Court as “a minor correction.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issues a statement to the media on May 10, 2023. Credit: Haim Zach/GPO.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issues a statement to the media on May 10, 2023. Credit: Haim Zach/GPO.

Following the July 24 passage of the first component in the much-debated series of judicial reforms, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu insisted that the new law was not as significant as critics claimed.

In an interview on ABC’s “Good Morning America” with George Stephanopoulos, Netanyahu said: “It’s described as the end of Israeli democracy—I think that’s silly, and when the dust settles, everybody will see it.”

Netanyahu pushed back against critics, saying the new measure seeks to protect democracy. He told Stephanopoulos that it would “bring back Israeli democracy in line with what is common to all democracies” and rein in “the most activist judicial court on the planet.”

Labeling the changes as “a minor correction,” he emphasized his goal of balance and said, “I want to bring the pendulum to the middle, I don’t want to bring the pendulum to the other side.”

The prime minister also challenged the perception that the judicial debate had disrupted Israeli-U.S. relations. He pointed out that he had followed White House requests to slow down, waiting seven months to institute changes. He also noted a recent invitation from U.S. President Joe Biden to visit the White House and called the two countries’ historic alliance “as strong as it’s ever been.”

Netanyahu also discussed his health, saying that following surgery this past week to get a pacemaker, he felt “terrific.”

“Man of steel,” he joked, before correcting his words to “plastic … I think that’s what they put in there.”

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