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Amir Hetsroni

Levin & Rothman Do Not Want a Referendum Because They Know The Results

Me demonstrating against the juridical reform. Jerusalem, 20.02.2023.

The right wing government has been proclaiming like a mantra that the constitutional revolution, juridical reform in their phrasing, is a just a reflection, if not a mirror, of public will. Their proof: They won the last elections. They intentionally forget that the elections agenda was not the legal system, that their victory was by a hair throw margin, and that if left wing parties wouldn’t have parted ways for ill and find themselves below the threshold– the parliament would have been literally hung – sixty seats to each wing.

Yet, these were the elections bylaws and the current government is legitimate. Illegitimate is its attempt to change fundamental rules, so that no change of government would ever be practically feasible. It starts with a less publicized bill proposed earlier this month by Ofir Katz (Likud) demanding that a single expression of sympathy to terror would be enough to disqualify a party or a candidate from taking part in the next elections. What constitutes an “expression of sympathy to terror”? Does visiting mourning family relatives residing in barely habitable conditions in a refugee camp (usually after being kicked off their permanent houses by Israel in one of the wars) whose sun took part in a guerilla attack on IDF troupes that put a blockade on that refugee camp count as sympathy to terror? If it does – then probably no Arab member of the Knesset will be able to sit there in the future. Disregarding the basic needs of people to share affection, and failing to acknowledge the fact that Palestinian families are split across both of the Green Line (often because of our occupation!) is not merely a less emphatic way of asking people to divorce from their relatives, but an effective strategy to prevent over 20% of the population from taking part in the political game and thereby perpetuating a right wing government for an indefinite amount of time.

Then comes the infamous constitutional revolution. So much has been said about it and not a lot is left to add. The question is whether an elected government can pass any law, no matter how much it contradicts reason and violates human rights, like keeping foreign workers whose visa has expired in secluded camps in the Negev desert (a low disqualified by the supreme court in 2013), or whether there are limits. However, if there are no almost no limits, as justice minister Levin and MK Rothman put de facto in their proposals that have been preliminarily approved by the Knesset – since any law disqualified unanimously by the supreme court (an exceptional demand to begin with) can be reenacted as “fundamental law” which cannot be disqualified at all – still the question remains why these respected representatives of the public do not bring their proposals to the public for confirmation. Even a world class dictator such as Tayyip Erdoğan of Turkey brought his reforms (which are to an extent a replica of Levin & Rothman’s bills) to no less than three referendums in 2007, 2010 and 2017 which he won with a very small majority. Rothman & Levin probably estimate that their proposals will not gain a majority. The polls are against them. The public is aware of the scheme to turn Israel from a so-so democracy to an absolute dictatorship in order to protect a certain criminal who currently stands on trial and also happens to be the prime minister. This is why the whole ordeal is illegitimate.

About the Author
Amir Hetsroni was a faculty member at Ariel University in the West Bank. He is emigrating from Israel in order to miss the next war, earn higher wages, enjoy cooler summers, and obtain a living package that is cost-effective. He has three passports and does not feel particularly worried about anti-Semitism.
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