Israel
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3 in 10 Israelis say government not required to honor High Court rulings — poll

Half of respondents says lawmakers must abide by court decisions, ahead of crucial hearings on judicial overhaul; majority says Netanyahu puts self-interest ahead of the state

Nearly three in ten Israelis believe the government and the Knesset are not obligated to abide by the High Court of Justice’s rulings, according to a poll released on Friday, ahead of the court’s crucial hearings next week on part of the government’s divisive judicial overhaul legislation.

The Channel 12 survey found that 29% of Israelis do not believe lawmakers must respect the court’s rulings, while 49% said they do. The remaining 22% of respondents said they were not sure.

The court on Tuesday is scheduled to begin hearings on petitions against the so-called reasonableness law, which bars courts from intervening in government and ministerial decisions based on their reasonableness. The law is the only component of the coalition’s broader judicial overhaul program that has been passed by the Knesset.

Some coalition lawmakers have threatened that they will not abide by the court if it rules in favor of disqualifying the legislation, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has not publicly committed to respecting the court’s judgment on the case. A refusal by the coalition to abide by a possible ruling against it would create a constitutional crisis over which branch of government has the final say.

Among voters for Netanyahu’s Likud party, 43% said the government and Knesset were not required to respect the court’s rulings, while 29% disagreed.

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The survey’s respondents were also asked whether they trusted Netanyahu’s claim this week that he was seeking compromise on the judicial overhaul, or whether they believed National Unity party leader Benny Gantz, who said Netanyahu was stalling and not serious about reaching an agreement. Slightly more than half — 51% — said they sided with Gantz, and 33% said they believed Netanyahu.

A majority of respondents — 60% — said Netanyahu is primarily motivated by self-interest, while 34% said he was focused on the state’s interest.

For Opposition Leader Yair Lapid, 44% said he was guided by self-interest, and 37% by the state’s interest.

The Channel 12 survey was carried out by pollster Mano Geva’s Midgam research firm. The report did not provide the polling sample or margin of error.

While Israeli television polls are notoriously unreliable, they often affect public opinion and drive decision-making among parties.