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Biden walks tightrope as Israel’s democracy tested

The judicial overhaul pursued by Benjamin Netanyahu and his right-wing coalition has bitterly divided Israeli society and cast further strain on US-Israel ties.
People demonstrate outside the US Embassy in Tel Aviv.

WASHINGTON — In 2014, then-Vice President Joe Biden recalled once signing a photo for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with the inscription: “Bibi, I don’t agree with a damn thing you say but I love you.”

Nearly a decade later, the limits of that love-hate relationship are being tested.

As Netanyahu plows ahead with a controversial effort to weaken the country’s judiciary, Biden is left to balance his support for Israel with his disdain for the most right-wing government in its history.

On Monday, Israel’s parliament gave its final approval to the first part of Netanyahu’s planned judicial overhaul, passing a measure that would prevent the Supreme Court from striking down government decisions and appointments deemed "unreasonable."

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