Israeli government advances judicial overhaul despite uproar

JERUSALEM (AP) — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government for the first time advanced a plan to overhaul the country’s legal system, defying a mass uproar among Israelis and calls for restraint from the United States.

A vote early Tuesday marked only preliminary approval for the plan. But it raised the stakes in a battle that drew tens of thousands of protesters into the streets, sparked criticism from influential sectors of society and widened the rifts in an already polarized country.

The vote gave initial approval to a plan that would give Netanyahu's coalition more power over who becomes a judge. It came after more than seven hours of debate that dragged on past midnight.


Kellman reported from Tel Aviv, Israel.

Laurie Kellman And Ilan Ben Zion, The Associated Press