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Michael Boyden

On the Path to a Dictatorship?

It doesn’t happen overnight. However, there are views being expressed and steps being taken in Israel that have no place in a liberal democracy.

It all started with Justice Minister Yariv Levin, who wants to overhaul our judicial system and limit the authority of the Supreme Court. But it doesn’t end there.

The chair of the Knesset Constitution, Law, and Justice Committee, Simcha Rothman MK, proposes restricting the right of trade unions to take industrial action by transferring the authority to rule on such matters from the National Labour Court to the Knesset.

Avi Maoz MK wants to oversee the kind of Jewish education our children receive by “cleansing” it of foreign influences and ensuring that it does not address such topics as religious pluralism and the rights of sexual minorities.

What characterizes all three of these agendas? The desire to control. The state will censor what we learn, and limit the right of Israelis to protest and have recourse to authorities that are not under government supervision.

A recent article in Tablet Magazine concluded: “Israel … might still be ‘the only democracy in the Middle East’, though it is increasingly becoming an illiberal and intolerant one.”

About the Author
Made aliyah from the UK in 1985, am a former president of the Israel Council of Reform Rabbis and am currently rabbi of Kehilat Yonatan in Hod Hasharon, Israel.
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