For weeks, Israeli citizens have been marching consistently across the country, protesting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s coalition government’s suggested changes to the judicial system. Netanyahu, who is currently on trial for corruption charges, is proposing a complete overhaul of Israel’s judiciary system, including changes to the process of electing judges, diminishing the power of the attorney general, giving the Knesset — Israel’s parliament — more veto power over Supreme Court decisions and removing the Israeli Supreme Court’s power of judicial review over Knesset legislation. As many Israelis have expressed, however, Netanyahu’s reforms pose a threat to Israel’s democratic system of government — specifically the balance of powers — giving the already strong Knesset even more power while lessening the power of the courts to check Parliament’s actions.

Currently, Israeli Supreme Court judges are elected through a committee composed of three current judges, two members of the Israeli Bar Association, two government ministers and two members of the current Israeli parliament, usually one member of the coalition and one member of the opposition — a majority of seven of the members must reach an agreement in order to appoint a judge to the bench. Netanyahu’s plan would shift the number of government members on the committee, essentially giving Parliament an automatic majority and the ability to nominate judges. Additionally, Netanyahu’s right-wing coalition government wants to give Parliament the ability to veto court decisions with a simple majority of 61, as well as remove the court’s ability to deny government appointments on the basis of ethics.

Israeli opposition members, including opposition leader Yair Lapid and former alternate Israeli Prime Minister Benny Gantz, have been encouraging citizens to protest on the basis that the proposed plan is harmful to Israel’s democracy. According to Lapid, the plan is “threatening to destroy the entire constitutional structure” of the state — he also said that it is essentially “a unilateral revolution against the system of government in Israel.”

Israel currently does not have a written constitution like the United States but rather a series of “basic laws” designed to act as a sort of constitution. As a result, the Supreme Court is essentially the only body that acts as a check against Israel’s parliament. Threatening the separation of powers in the country could lead to the government’s ability to pass whatever legislation they want, especially if the Supreme Court’s ability to veto Knesset legislation is taken away.

Additionally, having a partisan government become the deciding factor of who is elected to a supposedly non-political body is extremely dangerous. As judges are appointed by the President and confirmed by a divided, highly biased Senate, America’s Supreme Court has essentially become just another partisan tool in recent days. Having the Knesset decide who should be appointed to Israel’s Supreme Court will only lead to a political court and one that is not independent.

“We can expect that after this reform is passed, Arabs will be discriminated against, there will be a separation between men and women, there will laws and maybe verdicts in the Supreme Court that will take away rights of the LGBTQ community,” says Amir Fuchs, a researcher at the Israel Democracy Institute. “Material democracy will be harmed.”

Israeli citizens are concerned about this plan, and rightly so. Allowing the government to pass legislation without the right of the Supreme Court to overlook or veto it puts minorities in the country at risk, including women, members of the LGBTQ+ community and Arabs. For Israel to attempt to model its judicial system after the United States is also faulty — while some reforms may genuinely be necessary, copying other systems of government in a completely different country is not the way to go about it.

Israel’s current governmental structure, which allows the Supreme Court to check the Knesset, should be maintained. Additionally, having a committee made up of different experts in the legal field, including non-partisans, is actually an effective way to ensure that the court is not simply a political tool of the parliament.

A working representative democracy is based on the ideal that no branch of government should have too much power, and Netanyahu’s government’s proposed plan is detrimental to the survival of an effective democracy. Allowing Israel’s most right-wing government to effectively demolish established checks and balances poses a major threat to the idea of a separated government and, if the judicial reform bill ends up passing, will give Parliament and the Prime Minister almost unrestrained power to pass whatever legislation they want. It remains to be seen whether the bill will be passed by the Parliament, but if it does, Israeli democracy will be jeopardized.

Samantha Rigante is a freshman majoring in philosophy, politics and law.