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Israel-US ties fray as Netanyahu proceeds with judicial overhaul

The Biden administration made it clear to Israel that the special relations between the countries are based not only on common security interests, but also on values, currently not respected by the Netanyahu government.
In this handout image from the Israeli Government Press Office,US Vice President Joe Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu make statements to the press, Jerusalem, March 9, 2010.

TEL AVIV — Israel’s ties with Washington are increasingly tense over the decision by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government to push forward components of its judicial overhaul plan, forsaking compromise negotiations. Washington keeps criticizing the current Cabinet in Jerusalem, and an invitation for its prime minister to visit the White House is nowhere on the horizon.

Truth be told, just when you think Israel has hit rock bottom, someone comes along and proves you wrong. Late Monday, the Knesset gave initial approval to a bill that strikes down the Supreme Court's prerogative to curtail government actions that are deemed unreasonable. Responding to the proposed bill, which must go through two additional votes to become law, thousands of Israelis took to the country’s roads, bridges and crossroads on Tuesday to protest the government’s first concrete move to neuter Israel’s judiciary and law enforcement authorities.

At the same time, Diaspora Affairs Minister Amichai Chikli took to a microphone to blast the president of the United States. Specifically, he took aim at US President Joe Biden for saying this week that Netanyahu’s Cabinet includes some of the most extreme ministers he has ever seen in Israel.

"I think these comments [by Biden] are prompted and timed by [former Prime Ministers] Yair Lapid and Ehud Barak and their people who are friends with these people [in the Biden administration]. There is a certain amount of coordination between Biden’s people and Lapid and Barak; there is a certain amount of synchronization," Chikli said.

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