Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu went on Fox News on Sunday and told its host that in his 16 years in power, he never commentated on the internal debate in other democracies. "Other elected leaders can decide to do that in Israel."
"Everyone has an opinion on Israel," Netanyahu said adding that Western leaders have not chosen to comment on the riots in France and debates in other countries," he said. "If people chose to comment about ours, it's okay, we'll make our own decision. "
Netanyahu has been criticized for his judicial overhaul legislation which many fear will curb the oversight power of courts. In the package of bills presented by Justice Minister Yariv Levin last January, the Netanyahu coalition seeks to control the makeup of Israel's courts including the supreme court, immunize the government from possible court intervention in decisions and weaken the position of the attorney general and other legal advisers.
The prime minister repeated his claim that his judicial legislation is strengthening democracy and said the protests, that have been going on in Israel for the past 30 weeks, bringing hundreds of thousands to the streets all over the country, were organized in order to bring him and what he described as the "center-right" down after failing to install a left-wing government through elections.
"They assembled a cast of former generals who tell the government if you don't do what we say; if you go ahead with legislation, we're going to do incite for mass disobedience in the army. I tell you the day that Israel's elected government succumbs to threats by former generals, that's the end of democracy and we're not going to let that happen." The Fox host then said in response that in America, that is called treason.
Netanyahu who has been avoiding questions from the Israeli press, has given interviews to American media outlets in recent weeks. He told ABC News last week that he was invited to the White House by U.S. President Joe Biden, a claim the administration denied. Netanyahu has not been invited to meet Biden since taking office and was publicly criticized by the president for his intent to change Israel's power structure as well as for his alliance with extreme-right parties.
In an interview on CNN, the prime minister refused to commit to adhering to a ruling of the Supreme Court on a basic law that was passed by his coalition's majority earlier this year that prevents his removal from office under any circumstances other than incapacity to serve for medical or mental health reasons.
Netanyahu who is on trial for corruption – which he denies, is accused of violating a conflict of interest agreement agreement, stating he would not deal with matters of the courts while his criminal charges were being adjudicated.
In the same interview, he said U.S.-Israel relations remain strong.