Josh Daniel

Interest Groups & the Judicial Reforms

The anti-judicial reform demonstrations bring a very glaring realization to light – the significant power ‘interest groups’ wield to influence and impact the way the country functions politically, economically & socially.

Interest groups blur political orientation, ethnic and class backgrounds giving one the false impression of widespread appeal for their cause. But what really bonds the group together is mostly vested interests – personal, political, economical & ideological. The current groups comprising of leading academics, former generals, businesses, hi-tech industry and of course the media all seem to have jumped on the bandwagon as self-proclaimed defenders of democracy. Whether acting out of genuine concern or plain opportunism, is anybody’s guess. On the face of it, seems many of those against the reforms are decorated ‘have-beens’ looking for ways to stay relevant as things unravel. And what better way to stay relevant and gain mass popularity than to profusely attack a right-wing government, especially one led by PM Netanyahu.

There is general consensus across the board that judicial reforms are mandatory, yet the  group does not speak out in support as it is simply not in their interest to do so. For instance, the process of judiciaries appointing themselves to top posts without any oversight or fair representation should have been corrected ages ago. A similar parallel can be drawn to the hi-tech industry as well – especially in the infamous start-up culture. Friends bring ‘like-minded’ friends from the same social network to work with, while diminishing any chances for someone from a less-privileged background to enter this ‘closed club’. It is crucial that start-ups first take a hard look at their organizational culture and honestly assess their own standards of equal-opportunity employment, before protesting against the reforms and crying out against the destruction of democracy, True democratic values need to be practiced before they can be preached.

There is no question that the judicial system should remain independent and strong post reforms, and therefore all the more reason for the opposition to get involved in the process instantly. Instead they have chosen to behave like a bunch of hooligans in the Knesset. Had this been the behavior of right-wing parties, the media would have had a field day displaying their ‘barbaric’ behavior on the screens 24/7. Except for some basic lip service, every distasteful action by the opposition gets swept under the rug by all the television channels. It’s very unfortunate that the media continues to broadcast biased news, and shape the narrative to their objectives.

It was unbelievable to watch how channels 11, 12 & 13 directly associated depreciation of the Israeli Shekel versus the US Dollar & stock market drops to the judicial reforms. Not one of the economic correspondents bothered to point out that the US Dollar has been gaining for over a year due to strengthening of the US economy alongside Fed interest hikes. Nor did anyone mention that weakness in the stock market could be attributed to inflation concerns which has been ongoing for a while now, and even due to heightened geo-political fears as Russia plans to suspend nuclear weapons agreements. To insinuate that current economic situation is solely due to the judicial process is a gross misrepresentation of basic economics, and very poor reporting standards indeed.

But most worrying is the robotic, one-dimensional stance of these groups. Do all think the same way? Does no one have a different opinion? Even a minor one? Barring a few with the moral courage to speak differently, the interest groups seem more determined to maintain their privileged positions of power & influence in the current state of affairs than anything else. Economic concerns, currency fluctuations and stock market performance have more to do with the doomsday projections of world-renowned experts within the interest groups whose words & actions obviously wield wide-spread influence with the top Credit Rating Agencies, rather than with any real dramatic change on the ground. Responsible behavior from this very influential group is critical at this time. They need to decide if they want to take the higher moral ground, become distinguished voices of reason, contribute to national stability and final outcome of the reforms or simply continue to drive their personal agendas and gain publicity on the news channels.

About the Author
Josh is a growth marketing & international sales executive. He has held senior positions in technology companies in Israel and has a passion for writing on topics close to heart.