Israel's Supreme Court strikes down Netanyahu's judicial "reforms"

Israel's Supreme Court yesterday struck down Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's judicial reforms, which led last year to the country's largest protests in history, would disempower the courts, and allow him to avoid trial on longstanding corruption charges. The country's been busy with other matters lately and the ruling apparently comes as a surprise.

The law caused widespread anger and division, prompting hundreds of thousands of protesters to take the streets calling for the reforms to be scrapped – and for the resignation of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Organisers said the weekly protests were the biggest street demonstrations in Israel's history. At the time, hundreds of military reservists – including air force pilots – threatened to refuse to report for service, which led to warnings that this could impair Israel's military capabilities. A statement from the Supreme Court said that 8 out of 15 judges ruled against the law, adding it would have caused "severe and unprecedented damage to the basic characteristics of the State of Israel as a democratic state".

Netanyahu's party said the judges were opposing "the will of the people for unity, especially during wartime," but the BBC reports that the government is likely to respect the ruling at least until the end of the war in Gaza.