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China replaces foreign minister Qin Gang
China replaces foreign minister | World In :60 | GZERO Media

China replaces foreign minister Qin Gang

Is democracy dead in Israel? Will a fugitive decide Spain's next prime minister? What does Qin Gang's removal say about China? Ian Bremmer shares his insights on global politics this week on World In :60.

Is democracy dead in Israel?

No, not at all. It's very much alive. It's precisely the fact there has been such an extraordinary outcry among so many Israeli citizens and completely peaceful, mind you, over so many months because they're not happy with the efforts to reform, and by reform, I mean, undermine Israel's independent judiciary. The first piece of that that has passed in the last 24 hours is by itself certainly not a death knell for democracy, though it probably would allow Netanyahu to appoint cabinet members that could allow him to no longer face jeopardy from these corruption cases that have been against him. If they persist with the next couple of pieces of legislation that would allow the Knesset, the legislature, to overturn with a simple majority, a judicial decision, that would be a much more significant threat to democracy. We'll see how that plays out over the fall, but certainly this is going to impact the economy, society, and the rest.

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Demonstrators are sprayed with water from a water cannon during a demonstration against the Israeli government's judicial overhaul in Jerusalem.

REUTERS/Ammar Awad

Israel’s divisive judicial reforms becoming law

On Monday, Israel’s Knesset (parliament) passed the first bill of PM Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu’s controversial judicial reform bill.

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People block a highway to Jerusalem on a day of disturbance to protest against Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu and his nationalist coalition government's judicial overhaul.

REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun

A crucial vote on the judiciary in Israel

On Tuesday, Israelis opposed to the government's judicial overhaul blocked highways leading to the country's main cities as part of a national day of disturbance the day after the Knesset (parliament) passed the first part of a legislative package designed to dilute the power of the judiciary.

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How Bibi could end Israel's democracy (or get ousted)
How Bibi could end Israel's democracy (or get ousted) | GZERO World with Ian Bremmer

How Bibi could end Israel's democracy (or get ousted)

Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak has a chilling warning about the future of Israeli democracy: The government's judicial overhaul plan puts the very foundations of Israeli democracy at risk.

In an interview with Ian Bremmer on GZERO World, Barak explains that the reforms could erode the independence of the courts and weaken minority protections. Barak also accuses current PM Benjamin "Bibi" Netanyahu of hiding his true motives, describing his far-right coalition government as legal yet "illegitimate."

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Israel's judicial reform could destroy democracy from within, says former PM Ehud Barak
Israel's judicial reform seeks to destroy democracy using its tools, says former PM | GZERO World

Israel's judicial reform could destroy democracy from within, says former PM Ehud Barak

For months, Israel has been embroiled in political turmoil over the government's plan to overhaul the judiciary. But how much of a risk are the reforms to Israeli democracy?

For former PM Ehud Barak, what current PM Benjamin "Bibi" Netanyahu and his far-right allies want to do will eliminate the last check on executive power in Israel. By that, he means the independence of the courts.

Barak tells Ian Bremmer on GZERO World that a democracy like Israel should be capable of protecting itself from those who are using the tools the system offers "to destroy it from within."

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An aerial view shows protesters holding a sign depicting handmaidens from "The Handmaid's Tale" with the words "Never Surrender" as they demonstrate against Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu's judicial overhaul in Tel Aviv.

REUTERS/Ilan Rosenberg

Israel’s judicial reforms: Here we go again

Tens of thousands took to the streets of Israel’s main cities for the 17th consecutive weekend on Saturday to protest government plans to overhaul the judiciary. Meanwhile, smaller crowds rallied in favor of the reforms in Jerusalem ahead of Monday’s opening session of the Knesset (parliament), which will resume its debate over the divisive bill after a two-month pause ordered by PM Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu.

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Luisa Vieira

Israel’s political crisis, explained

What happened, exactly?

Since taking office last December, the far-right coalition led by Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu had been trying to get legislation passed that would give the executive full control of the supreme court’s composition and allow the Knesset (Israel’s parliament) to overturn supreme court rulings with a simple majority.

While many of the reform’s proponents are motivated by a desire to check what they’ve long viewed as an overly activist, liberal, and anti-democratic judiciary, Bibi himself primarily saw it as a means to stay out of prison and in power.

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Luisa Vieira

What We're Watching: Russian nukes in Belarus, Israelis vs. Bibi

Putin to deploy tactical nukes in Belarus

Vladimir Putin on Saturday announced that Russia plans to send tactical nuclear weapons to staunch ally Belarus. Construction of storage units will be completed by July 1, although Putin was vague on when the nukes themselves would be deployed. (Recap: Tactical nukes are lower-yield atomic weapons that can’t take out entire cities like strategic ones.)

The Russian leader said he made the decision after the US and UK announced they would be supplying Ukraine with anti-tank rounds made from depleted uranium. What’s more, Putin believes that Russia is well within its right to do this since America already has US tactical nukes in six NATO countries and that Moscow is not violating its nuclear non-proliferation obligations because it’ll retain control over the weapons.

US officials downplay the idea that storing Russian tactical nukes in Belarus will impact the war in Ukraine, which is already well within range of the Kremlin’s vast nuclear arsenal. But the announcement might be a provocation aimed at rattling Western public opinion against helping Ukraine as Russia struggles on the battlefield. Also, there’s currently no clear path forward for a negotiated settlement despite last week’s high-stakes meeting between Putin and China’s Xi Jinping.

Russia has often played up its nuclear rhetoric when things are not going well in Ukraine. In fact, Putin reportedly considered using tactical nukes last fall but finally decided against it. Still, the fact that the nuclear option is on the table at all should be alarming to anyone.

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