Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier expressed his concern about the planned judicial reform in Israel in no uncertain terms on Friday. Steinmeier said on Friday at a reception marking the fiftieth anniversary of the University of Haifa that he was concerned about the government's planned "restructuring of the rule of law" in Israel. Germany has "always looked with great admiration at the strong and vibrant rule of law in Israel" and knows "how necessary this strong and vibrant constitutional state is in the region."

Alexander Haneke

Editor in politics.

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Such open criticism of the government work of a friendly country is unusual for German presidents, as they traditionally stay out of day-to-day political issues. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, whose ultra-right governing coalition is pushing judicial reform through the Israeli parliament, is expected next week for his first visit since returning to government office in Berlin.

Netanyahu's central project

In his speech, Steinmeier also referred to the "regular exchange with my friend and counterpart Isaac Herzog", the Israeli President, whose "intelligent and balancing voice" he was counting on. Herzog had called on Thursday evening in a televised speech of Netanyahu's government to stop the judicial reform and spoke of a threat to Israeli democracy. "It's wrong, it's tough and it's undermining our democratic foundations," Herzog said of the government's plans.

Judicial reform is a central project of Netanyahu's coalition. Among other things, it is intended to give parliament the opportunity to overrule decisions of the Supreme Court by a simple majority. In addition, the government would have significantly more influence on the appointment of judges. In Israel, the protests against the plans had become more and more popular in recent weeks. Herzog himself had tried at the beginning of the week to mediate a compromise between opponents and supporters. Now, however, he called for the reform to be withdrawn in favor of a "common project".