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Economists criticize controversial judicial reform in Israel

Economists criticize controversial judicial reform in Israel

Tel Aviv, Feb 9 (Prensa Latina) Over 50 leading economists from US universities, including 11 Nobel laureates, criticized the controversial judicial reform in Israel, promoted by the far-right government, which has caused a polarization in Israeli society.

In an open letter to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, experts warned against the proposed changes, because of their negative impact on Israel’s economic growth. “Undermining the judiciary would be detrimental not only to democracy but also to prosperity and economic growth”, they wrote.

According to the project presented by the Minister of Justice, Yariv Levin, an “annulment clause”, would restrict the ability of the Supreme Court to reject laws, which would allow Parliament to re-legislate regulations challenged by the Court. It would also give the executive full control over the selection of judges, prevent the court from using a reasonable test to judge legislation and government decisions, and allow ministers to appoint their own legal advisers.

Last month, another letter sent and signed by more than 300 economists, including Nobel prize, Eric Maskin, also questioned the initiative, stating that “The reform of the judicial system endangers Israeli economy and may cause a drop in Israel’s credit rating, lead investors to flee and cause a brain drain.”

Two days ago, Israel’s Channel 12 revealed that “five unicorns”, as start-ups with a value of more than a billion dollars are known, withdrew more than seven billion dollars from the country, due to investors´ pressure.

Several businessmen warned Netanyahu during a meeting in late January that this would happen. Bank Hapoalim chief executive, Dov Kotler, said capital flights has already started; “it’s not in a dramatic scale yet, but we’re worried this is the start of a trend.”

Channel 12 and the Ynet news website, which cited unidentified sources, reported that the head of government is surprised and disturbed by the wave of condemnations of the reform from numerous sectors of the country.


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