At a meeting with her Israeli colleague Eli Cohen in Berlin, Federal Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock (Greens) expressed concern about the changes planned in Israel's judicial system. “One of the values that unites us is the protection of rule of law principles such as the independence of the judiciary. That was always one of Israel's flagships," said Baerbock on Tuesday in the presence of Cohen in Berlin. "I don't want to hide the fact that we are worried abroad," she said, referring to the Israeli government's current legislative plans.
Baerbock said she expressed her concerns in a conversation with Cohen. The federal government is "firmly convinced that a strong democracy needs an independent judiciary that can also review majority decisions," she continued. Fundamental rights are "minority rights by their very nature," emphasized the Foreign Minister.
For weeks, nationwide demonstrations have been taking place in Israel against the change in the judicial system sought by the ultra-right government under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The first parts of the bill have already been approved by the Knesset.
Among other things, the government should be given more influence in the selection of judges; In addition, Parliament should be able to overturn decisions of the Supreme Court with a simple majority in the future. Critics see this as an attack on the separation of powers in democracy.
Foreign Minister Baerbock also expressed concerns about the possible introduction of the death penalty in Israel, which was launched by the Israeli government on Sunday. "We are particularly concerned about the plan to introduce the death penalty," said Baerbock. The federal government is "out of deep conviction against the death penalty", which is "not effective as a deterrent".
Although Israel is threatened by terror like no other country, it has only carried out the death penalty once in its history, said the Federal Foreign Minister. "I am convinced that it would be a big mistake to break with this story," she said.
Israel's ultra-right government introduced a bill on Sunday to introduce the death penalty for "terrorists". The cabinet voted in favor of a bill by Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir's party that would allow courts to "impose the death penalty on terrorists."
The proposed law is very controversial in Israel. The country has used the death penalty only once in its history: in 1962, Holocaust organizer Adolf Eichmann was executed after a nine-month trial.