Moody’s to Issue Special Report on Israel amid Judicial Reform Controversy
The international credit rating agency Moody’s will issue a special report on Israel’s economic outlook on Tuesday evening, amid the ongoing controversy over the government’s judicial reform plan. The report, which was announced by N12, comes a day after the Knesset passed the first law in the reform package, which grants the justice minister more power over the appointment of judges and court presidents.
The judicial reform, which is supported by the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamen Netanyahu and his coalition partners, has sparked fierce criticism from the opposition, the legal establishment, and some international allies. The critics argue that the reform undermines the independence and integrity of the judiciary. The US State Department and the UK Foreign Office have both expressed their concern over the reform, and urged Israel to preserve the independence of its judicial system.
The Moody’s report could have significant implications for Israeli credit rating, which affects its ability to borrow money from international markets and investors. Moody’s currently rates Israel at A1 with a stable outlook, which means that it considers Israel to have a low credit risk and a strong capacity to meet its financial obligations. However, if Moody’s decides to lower its rating or change its outlook to negative, it could signal that Israeli economic stability and growth prospects are in jeopardy.
The Moody’s report is expected to cover various aspects of Israeli economy, such as its fiscal policy, public debt, inflation, growth rate, unemployment, and external trade. Moreover, the report will probably assess the political situation in Israel, especially the durability and cohesion of the new government, which is composed of eight parties with diverse and sometimes conflicting agendas.
The government has defended its judicial reform plan as a necessary step to restore public trust in the legal system and to balance the powers between the executive, legislative, and judicial branches. It has also dismissed the criticism from abroad as interference in Israeli internal affairs and sovereignty. The government has vowed to continue with its reform agenda, which includes passing a state budget by November 4, or face automatic elections.
The judicial reform plan has been a long-standing demand of the right-wing parties in Israel, who accuse the Supreme Court of being too activist and liberal, and of undermining the will of the majority and the sovereignty of the Knesset. They also claim that the court is biased against the settlement movement and in favor of the rights of Palestinians and other minorities.
The judicial reform plan has also been opposed by some members of Netanyahu’s own coalition, such as the centrist Blue and White party led by Benny Gantz, who is also the defense minister and the alternate prime minister. Gantz has said that he will not support any legislation that harms the rule of law or democracy in Israel. He has also warned that the judicial reform plan could jeopardize Israel’s relations with its allies, especially the US, which considers Israel a model of democracy in the Middle East.
The judicial reform plan has sparked a wave of protests across Israel, with tens of thousands of people taking to the streets every week to voice their opposition to the government and its policies. The protesters have adopted the slogan “Save the country, save democracy” and have waved Israeli flags and signs calling for Netanyahu’s resignation. Some of the protests have turned violent, with clashes between protesters and police, as well as counter-protesters who support Netanyahu.
The judicial reform plan has also raised concerns among some of Israeli international partners, who fear that it could undermine Israeli democratic institutions and values. The US State Department has issued a statement saying that it is “deeply concerned” by the proposed legislation and that it “would harm Israel’s long-standing commitment to democratic principles and judicial independence”. The UK Foreign Office has also expressed its concern and urged Israel to “uphold its international obligations and protect its democratic institutions”. The European Union has also voiced its criticism and said that it is “closely following” the developments in Israel.