Right-Wing Legislation Stirs Democracy Debate In Israel [View all]
JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Legislation promoted by right-wing lawmakers in Israel is raising concern that democratic values are under threat in a country that has long billed itself the only democracy in the Middle East.
One bill could potentially paralyze dovish Israeli advocacy groups by imposing sharp limits on funding they receive from foreign governments, while others could deal a blow to the independence of the Supreme Court, an institution seen in Israel as a watchdog over civil rights.
Nothing has been passed into law and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, under international pressure to quash some of the measures proposed by members of his Likud party, has moved to stall one of the more controversial bills.
But critics of the legislation say damage to some democratic rights and the nation’s image has already been done, pointing at three other laws passed in the past year widely seen as anti-Arab and attempts to quash dissent against government policy.