Netanyahu presents government’s agenda, with focus on judicial reform, expanding settlements

Carrie Keller-Lynn is a former political and legal correspondent for The Times of Israel

Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu at a vote in the Knesset in Jerusalem, on December 28, 2022. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)
Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu at a vote in the Knesset in Jerusalem, on December 28, 2022. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

Incoming prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu announces his new government’s agenda, a day before its members are set to take their oaths of office, with a focus on expanding settlement in the West Bank and laws that will curb the power of the courts.

The agenda, the government’s first official communication to the public about its priorities and intentions, reflects the goals of the Likud-led coalition with far-right and ultra-Orthodox parties.

“The Jewish people have an exclusive and inalienable right to all parts of the Land of Israel. The government will promote and develop settlement in all parts of the Land of Israel –- in the Galilee, the Negev, the Golan, Judea and Samaria,” the agenda says, the last two being the Biblical names for the West Bank.

The agenda notes several priorities in the realm of law and order.

“The government will take steps to ensure governance and restore the proper balance between the legislative, executive, and judiciary,” it says in reference to a planned “override law” that will let the Knesset re-legislate bills struck down by the High Court as undemocratic, alongside plans to give politicians more control over the selection of judges.

It also refers to the far-right parties’ demands to give security forces greater leeway in using deadly force against Palestinian attackers.

“The government will work to strengthen the security forces and to give backing to the fighters and police officers in order to fight and defeat terrorism,” it says.

Amid fears that the incoming government will move toward imposing religious law, the agenda, however, commits to maintaining the so-called status quo.

“The government will preserve the Jewish character of the state and the heritage of Israel, as well as respect the religions and traditions of adherents of the country’s religions, in accordance with the values of the Declaration of Independence,” it says.

“The status quo on issues of religion and state will be maintained as it has been for decades in Israel, including with regard to the holy places,” it adds.

Also making the list are a commitment to education, reducing the cost of living and tackling the housing crisis, and continuing “the struggle against Iran’s nuclear program.”

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