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Jeremy Seeff

Democracy not DemoCrazy

Open Letter to the members of the Israeli Government.

I am a Zionist. I was born in France, grew up in the UK, and made Aliyah in 2013. I am a qualified lawyer (in England & Wales, in NY, and also in Israel). I pay all my taxes. I am somewhat traditional / observant. I am gay. I am not able to get married in this country. My ability to be recognised as a father in this country is thanks only to the Supreme Court’s actions.

Unlike in almost every parliamentary system in the world, Israeli MKs are not accountable to a specific constituency, and so, I am writing this open letter to you, members of the Israeli Government – you who are elected (and paid) to represent all Israeli citizens, to express to you how deeply your actions are destroying my Zionism, destroying the State of Israel – economically and socially – and creating an incredibly sad ‘chilul hashem‘.
To remain a democracy, a unicameral parliament must have checks and balances. It cannot be tyranny of the majority – even if 120 MKs voted in favour of slavery – that would not be consistent with democratic values – there must be limits on the powers of the legislative branch (and most certainly on those of the executive branch) of government.
The work that this current Government is doing to unravel the very fabric of our democracy is nothing less than an abomination. Your ‘reforms’ were not a central plank of any election manifesto, and a wild majority of even your own voters (not to mention the country) is decidedly against what you are doing. Most do not even know what you are planning.
Many of your supporters call themselves ‘second class citizens’ whilst enjoying all legal rights and privileges in this country. By contrast, without the Supreme Court, the LGBT+ community in Israel (not to mention other minority groups) would have zero protections. Ministers proudly sign letters stating that LGBT+ people cannot be adoptive parents and that it would be ‘better for the children to be adopted into an environment similar to which they came from‘ whilst ignoring all the facts that necessitate their adoption to begin with, as well as the irrefutable evidence that same-sex parents can and do make excellent and loving parents.
This Government boasts amongst its number, as many convicted criminals and criminal indictments, as women. For shame!
Whilst I can appreciate Torah values, it is nonsensical, divisive, and economically unsustainable that a significant proportion of the population be given equal (or better – especially compared to the LGBT+ community) rights without contributing to the State’s security, and social and financial wellbeing; whether through IDF service or other forms of Sherut Leumi.
You purport to represent the country’s interests and yet ignore a large majority of the population who are against your actions, and whose views are supported by an astonishing number of leading economic experts, former ambassadors, former chiefs of staff and senior military personnel, business leaders, leading law firms, and an unwavering chorus of international allies.
I am not naïve enough to think that you will change your ways due to my letter – indeed perhaps you won’t even read it – but after 10 years in Israel, when for the first time I am seriously considering whether I can have a Jewish, zionist, gay, and democratic future in this country, it is incumbent on me to urge you to stop this DemoCrazy madness. Undo the extreme harm you are causing by unwinding the ‘reasonableness’ standard (which is pervasive in all modern democracies) and halt all further ‘reforms’. If you believe in your agenda – make a full and clear plan, ensure that it fully protects the interests of minority groups, and of religious freedom – and then convince the public and opposition of its worth to encourage broad consensus. Do not force this through whilst destroying the unity of our State.
There is no better time that Tisha Be’Av to remind you that history remembers the destroyers – it is not too late for you to turn this around.
About the Author
Jeremy Seeff was born in Paris, grew up in London and made Aliyah from the UK in 2013. He is a partner at Tel-Aviv law firm Epstein Rosenblum Maoz (ERM) advising Israeli and international clients on their M&A, Private Equity, VC, and finance transactions. Jeremy is also a director of non-profit organisation LGBTech, which works to promote LGBT+ diversity and inclusion in the Israeli workplace; and an advisor for World History Encyclopedia.
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