Veteran Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu, who will receive an official mandate Sunday to form a government after a stunning election comeback, has not concealed his disdain for the country’s courts. Much of his criticism has centred on his ongoing trial over corruption charges, which he denies and has at times blamed on unnamed enemies within the criminal justice system. But beyond Netanyahu’s case, the right-wing bloc he leads has made judicial reform a priority, seeking to redress what it condemns as the activist, leftist agenda of Israeli judges. Breaking years of political gridlock, Netanyahu — 20 months after falling from power — is poised to form a majority coalition that coalesces right-wing and far-right stripes thanks to a strong showing in the November 1 election. Experts say legal reform is his top priority, warning the programme under consideration threatens judicial independence and could undermine Israeli governance. Netanyahu’s Likud party is expected to form a government with the extreme-right Religious Zionism alliance. Its leader, Bezalel Smotrich, said before the vote that action on his judicial reform proposals would be a pre-condition for Religious Zionism joining a coalition. Asked if that condition remained in place as coalition talks with Likud were getting underway, Smotrich spokesman Eitan Fold told AFP that “negotiations have just started” and “would happen behind closed doors.” There are two key planks to Religious Zionism’s reform plans, which experts say have support among some Likud members. One is the so-called “override clause”. If the Supreme Court declares a law illegal, the clause would empower parliament to overturn that decision through a simple majority vote.