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Alarm bells for Israel – courts frozen, Netanyahu trial delayed, virus patient tracking

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Published: 16 March 2020

Last updated: 4 March 2024

Justice minister, appointed by PM, suspends courts to allow trial delay – Netanyahu accused of exploiting pandemic with raft of anti-democratic measures for his political survival

An emergency for Israeli democracy: coronavirus crisis cannot chip away at checks and balances (Haaretz)
NOA LANDAU: A black warning flag is flying over Israel, and it’s not over the coronavirus epidemic. Unbalanced, unchecked power is now concentrated in the hands of the prime minister of a caretaker government, allowing him to take and institute draconian measures the likes of which we’ve never seen – and with dizzying speed.

This is happening without a government, without a sitting parliament, and against an exhausted justice system, whose powers have been curtailed in the dead of night; this is happening using all the authority of the executive branch, particularly the army, the police and the Shin Bet security service.

Now, new rules banning gatherings of more than 10 people even prevent organizing protests. And the media, purportedly the only watchdog left, is having trouble keeping up with the pace of events.

Ya’alon: Netanyahu exploiting virus crisis for ‘personal political needs’ (Times of Israel)
Opposition MKs question plans to begin using invasive monitoring technology to help track potential infection paths of sick individuals

Netanyahu trial postponed as justice minister freezes courts over coronavirus emergency (Haaretz)
On Thursday, Interim Justice Minister Amir Ohana, a Netanyahu appointee, expanded his powers to freeze court activity in case of escalation in coronavirus cases in Israel

Israel plans to use counter-terrorism tools to stop spread of coronavirus (Jerusalem Post)
Culture and leisure spaces to close down as COVID-19 patients near 200.

Israel set for drastic new restrictions on workplaces and gatherings; no lockdown (Times of Israel)
New measures, including restrictions on public transport and limits at malls, shutting preschools, barring Palestinian workers, could paralyse 50% of economy, TV report says

Photo: Benjamin etanyahu demonstrates how to use a tissue when coughing, during a press conference on March 11 (Ohad Zwigenberg)

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