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Fifty former top civil servants – including some who served under Benjamin Netanyahu for years – have launched a strong attack on the new government’s controversial judicial reforms.

A letter this week – which includes the names of former heads of the Prime Minister’s Office, Finance Ministry, Competition Authority and Energy Ministry – warned the measures would “cause unprecedented damage to Israel’s economy”.

“The appreciation and stability enjoyed by the Israeli economy largely stem from the independence of the judiciary and public institutions,” they wrote. “Harming that,” the letter continued, “would lower credit ratings and create difficulties for high-tech companies looking to raise money.”

The planned measures aim to strengthen the power of the Knesset over the Supreme Court and increase the role of politicians in selecting judges and government legal advisers. They have sparked huge weekly protests across the country, strong opposition in the Knesset and reported concern among some coalition members. President Isaac Herzog has also signalled his deep unease.

The latest attack follows similar warnings from Israeli bank chiefs, top law firms and over 300 economists, and the Institute for National Security Studies.