ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 138

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Justice minister, Supreme Court chief meet for first time since trading public barbs

Justice Minister Yariv Levin attends a hearing of the Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice committee, January 11, 2023. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Justice Minister Yariv Levin attends a hearing of the Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice committee, January 11, 2023. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Justice Minister Yariv Levin is meeting Chief Justice Esther Hayut, in their first sit-down since they made fiery remarks against each other late last week over the government’s sweeping judicial reform plan, Hebrew media reports.

Levin and Hayut met shortly after the former unveiled the far-reaching plan, which has sparked major protests by critics who view it as neutering the justice system.

After the plan was revealed, Hayut held an extraordinary speech last Thursday, delivered with indignation and fiery rhetoric, denouncing the plan and saying it would deal a “fatal blow” to the country’s democratic identity.

President of the Supreme Court Esther Hayut speaks at a conference in Haifa on January 12, 2023. (Shir Torem/Flash90)

Hayut declared that the sweeping changes to the legal system would fatally undermine judicial independence, give the Knesset a “blank check” to pass any legislation it pleases — even in violation of basic civil rights — and deny the courts the tools needed to serve as a check on executive power.

Levin, who is spearheading the reforms, lambasted Hayut’s speech, saying it underlined his arguments that the justice system has been politicized, and chastised her for violating ethics rules for serving judges.

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