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Germany believes that an independent judiciary is a basic principle of democracy and is closely monitoring the dispute in Israel over a controversial judicial reform being pushed by the Israeli government, the German ambassador said, as anti-reform protests continued unabated for an eighth straight week across Israel today.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government – the most right-wing government in the country’s history – moved forward with its plan last week as Israel’s parliament approved on first reading two key provisions of that reform, setting limits on the Supreme Court’s power to strike down laws .

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Another change pushed by the ruling coalition would give it more influence over the selection of judges. The bills have won initial votes in parliament but have yet to become law.

We have a strong interest in Israeli democracy remaining strong because … this vibrant democracy is an important part of why we feel so committed to IsraelGerman ambassador Steffen Seibert said in an interview with the Israeli television network N12.

The government’s plan has sparked nationwide protests in Israel and alarmed economists, former security officials and legal experts at home and abroad.

Last week the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights called on Israel to suspend the reform, concerned about its consequences for human rights and the independence of the judiciary.

The reform has mobilized much public opinion against it since it was announced in early January by the government formed last month by right-wing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with far-right parties and ultra-Orthodox Jewish formations.

Netanyahu, who is on trial on corruption charges he denies, says the reforms will strengthen democracy and boost business. He has dismissed the protesters as “anarchists” who do not want to accept the decisive victory of the right in the November 1 election.

Democracy is more than the temporary power of the democratically elected majoritySeibert said.

“It’s also about preserving the rights of minorities, and also the appropriate balance of power, and that’s where an independent judiciary comes in,” Seibert said, adding that Germany is following the heated debate closely.

Numerous opinion polls show that the majority of Israelis oppose the planned reform as it stands. Tens of thousands of demonstrations today across the country and today.

We are protesting against the government because we fear for our future, for the future of our childrensaid Gabby Goldstein, who attended the largest demonstration Saturday in Tel Aviv.