From the Freedom of Our Slavery to What?
On April 2 2023, Memorial Day, Israel Hayom published Alex Trainman’s “A Crisis of Judicial Proportions Explained: Why Is Israel Rocked By Political Turbulence?” His introductory comments is an excellent summary. In order to assist those who are attempting to comprehend what gives the court in Israel more power than the elected government, Trainman compares Israel’s judicial system to that of the United States.
For those US Federations, who are assisting the Israeli government opposition, why would they not want Israel to enjoy the same format as theirs, unless they are not conversant with the Constitution and other issues contained within the American Democracy.
In a similar fashion, those who blame Netanyahu for the chaos; do they not realize that had the reforms been enacted, his court hearings would not be subjected to absurd delays.
The Jewish Press posted “Netanyahu: Opponents of Judicial Reform ‘crossing Red Lines'” by David Isaac on February 12, 2023. At the time, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemned calls by opponents of his government’s judicial reform who plan to break the law, and requested them to act responsibly.
He is quoted as saying, “I would like to strongly criticize the calls to break the law, for civil rebellion, to intentionally harm the economy, and even use weapons, by those who oppose government policy. Red line cannot be crossed. Red lines have been crossed in recent days by extremist elements that have one goal: To intentionally bring about anarchy.”
Continuing, Netanyahu drew attention to his government having received a clear Mandate from the people of Israel in a democratic election. He added that he was certain that the vast majority of the citizens of Israel, whether they support the reform or not, oppose extremism and would not allow the country to fall into anarchy. With this, he appealed to all to lower the tone and to commence a substantive dialogue.. “We have one country and together, we will safeguard it.”
Previously on February 7, with the backing of opposition leader Yair Lapid of the Yesh Atid Party, organizers of mass Saturday night protests against the reform plan called for a nationwide strike.
It seems that little has any impact on Lapid. As reported by Hana Levi Julian of the Jewish Press on April 13, 2023, “Yesh Atid Builds Disinformation Network on Social Media While Lapid Meets with US Democrats.”
The given report claims that MK Lapid, the head of the named organization intended to topple the Netanyahu government, using social media. Among the officials Lapid met was Jerry Nadler, a NY City Congress member and a ranking member of the House judiciary Committee. He happens to be notorious, partly Yeshiva educated and recently was active in organizing Jewish DemocraticCongress members to oppose the Israeli Government’s planned judicial reforms.
Typical of those who are ignorant on the different forms of democracy, he stated that Israel’s proposed reform could “undermine Israeli democracy.”Among his “accomplishments, during 2 prior years, he attempted to “pack” the 150-year old 9 member US Supreme Court by adding 4 new justices, to be appointed by President Joe Biden in an effort to create a Left-wing majority on the bench!
As a further testimony of his contempt against Prime Minister Netanyahu and MK Ben Gvir, Nadler, remarked, “Whoever appointed a convicted terrorist to be Minister of National Security, could not have expected any other result.” In this, he was even wrong. It was Netanyahu, and not Gvir who ordered a ban on Jewish visitors to the Temple Mount until the end of Ramadan, as a safety measure.
On a positive side, the US based Am Echad organization warned in a letter to Lapid, made public by its affiliate, Agudath Israel, that the Yesh Atid leader is “driving a wedge between Israel and Jews around the world.”
Typical of daily newscasts on Israel, we find the following on the mayhem:
“From the outset, political leaders were warning that the protests would lead to political violence and ultimately, a civil war.”
“Protests numbering in the thousands morphed over a matter of weeks into alarge scale popular resistance. Mass protests of more than 100,000 judicial reform opponents began lining streets in Tel-Aviv and Jerusalem, closing major traffic arteries.”
One has to wonder about the make-up of the mass protestors .Perhaps, a partial answer can be found in world famed Professor Bernard Lewis’s, “Israel’s Election System is no good” of April 1, 2009. On the 2nd paragraph of the 1st page, one reads, “—and most of its citizens originate in countries with little or no experience of democratic government.
Further, on the 2nd page, paragraph 3, Lewis, it states, “A significant disadvantage of the present system is that there is no direct relationship between the elected members and the electors. In the Anglo-American system, every member is directly answerable to the people of the place he represents.”
There is no doubt that Israel ‘s citizens would gain much from this type of reform, but there is no indication of it being considered.
Another paper of interest was published by Mosaic on December 4, 2014, titled, “Israel’s Imperious Judiciary” and authored by Moshe Koppel. Under a paragraph headed “Judicial Overreach” Koppel discuses a major catalyst, a reversal by Judge Aharon Barak who came to be known as being power hungry.
He broadened the grounds on which courts could intervene in state policy and then eliminated 2 crucial limitations – in legal jargon, “standing” and “justiciability” – on the sorts of cases they could hear.
After extensive critique , Koppel concludes, “Israel’s justice system is in desperate need of reforms that can end this tyranny of the legal bureaucracy .The particulars of the reform are not difficult to identify” allowing the government and its ministries to hire and fire legal advisers at their discretion: allowing government agencies to choose their representation in court:; turning judicial appointments over to elected officials; restoring the requirement of standing; and dividing the powers of the attorney general among several individuals.”
As recently as February 02, 2023, Tablet published, “Israeli Democracy is Fine, Thank you for Asking” by Gil Troy. His commencement speaks volumes, “Attempts to run the anti-Trump playbook against Bibi ignore the deep differences between Israel’s resilient democratic culture and America’s polarized mess.”
Troy is virtually unique in providing an optimistic view of today’s drama. It is reflected in his conclusion. “Rather than pointing their fingers, Americans and Israelis would do better to learn from one another. Israelis could benefit from a better appreciation of America’s formal structures of government, while Americans would do well to mimic the bottom -up elements of Israeli democracy, including the trust, solidarity, intimacy, that stabilize Israel’s polity.”
To avoid repetition, readers could engage this writer’s TOI Blog of July 6, 2022, “Fixing Israel’s Electoral System”, which references several relevant papers by experts on the subject of democracy.
By way of commemorating Israel’s 75th anniversary, the following link is provided for readers interst.: