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Alex Rose

When hatred reigns

“The talks about an impending economic disaster are nothing more than sheer nonsense” [Shmuel Slavin, as reported in Makor Rishon]

As a consequence of research into making sense of what has become a major media item on the proposed judicial reforms advocated by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, David Isaacs Jewish Press columnist’s, “Former Finance Ministry Director [Shmuel Slavin]: Judicial Reform Will Benefit Israel’s Economy ” is particularly lucid.

Shmuel Slavin was at one time, Director-General of the Finance Ministry and the Labor and Welfare ministry, as well as serving as Economic Advisor to Prime Minister Yitzchak Shamir. He has many years of experience in Israel’s commercial and financial areas.

Slavin says professionals know how to look at the past and analyze the present, but anyone who predicts the future is doing so with a political bias. As regards politics , he admits to supporting the proposed reform In his opinion , not only will it not harm, but benefit Israel’s economy.

As regards the method of selecting judges, the world is hardly interested in this, since it is nonsensical. ” What we have in Israel are political demonstrations of a hegemony that wants to maintain its power. History knows uprisings of the lower classes, but this is the first time that those who revolt are the privileged rich.”

Slavin was questioned as to why 270 economists, among them Nobel Laureates, who were opposed to judicial reform, his response was simply, “How come they didn’t contact me?” To which, he answered, “They didn’t contact me because they knew that politically I didn’t agree with them.”

Evelyn Gordon immigrated to Israel in 1987 immediately after obtaining her degree in electrical engineering from Princeton University, and surprisingly has worked as an Israeli journalist and commentator since 1990. Her skills are shared by the Jerusalem Post, Haaretz, Azure, Commentary Magazine and JINSA. It is among her wide knowledge on democracy, as recorded in Mosaic, that has great relevance to Israel today.

In her “Judicial Reform will remain on Israel’s Agenda after Netanyahu leaves office” of June 12, 2019, Gordon writes, “—but the Israeli right has been pushing for legal reform well before Benjamin Netanyahu took up the idea.” She then recalls the experience of Moshe Kahlon, leader of the center-right Kulanu party.

Back in 2015, he vowed to thwart any effort to curb the legal system’s power. He exercised his veto repeatedly, inter alia killing bills to change the judicial appointments system. However, after April’s election, Kahlon’s Kulanu party  signaled that it would no longer thwart such efforts.!!

“After more than three decades of such rampant judicial activism, too many right-leaning legislators and voters have similar stories of policies they cared about being nixed—merely because unelected justices or an unelected attorney general decided to substitute their own policy judgments for those of the elected government.” Which brings us to March 6, 2023 and Evelyn Gordon’s, “Israel’s Judicial Reckoning.” This masterful 21 page treatise is unmatched in clarifying  Israel’s predicament today.

Her introductory  paragraph reads, as follows, “Israel’s court is abnormally powerful and has caused half the nation to lose faith in its government. Reform will help, as long as it doesn’t cause the other half to do the same.”

The paper is divided into 3 sections, abbreviated as follows:

[1] The Judicial Revolution: Recognizing that Israel is a nation without a constitution, does not make it unique. However, the role played by its court does constitute uniqueness. Over the past 3 decades, Israel’s Supreme Court has exploited the absence of a constitution t o steadily increase its intervention in policy and value judgments in addition to encroachment on the prerogatives of the legislature and the executive. This has obviously impacted public trust dividing it sharply,  along political and religious lines.

[2] The Reforms: The Left ruled the country, for the 1st three decades of the country’s existence, losing power in 1977. Subsequently, the Right had more wins than the Left, and especially over the last 15 years. Hence, the importance of the Supreme Court for the Left.

[3] The Opposition :Some longtime conservative critics of the court fear the reform package goes too far. While the truth is that Israel’s parliamentary system does lack crucial checks on the executive that most other democracies have.

Summarized, both sides believe they can win. The government has the votes to pass its own plan as is ; the opposition believes that the protests and pressure will force the government to fold.

As for President Herzog, sadly he does not have the ability of his grandfather , Chief Rabbi Herzog, or his uncle, Ambassador Yaakov Herzog to mediate between the parties.

Outside of legalities, the underlying conflict, is clearly one of so-called progressives, otherwise known as Leftists, verses conservatives. Israel Hayom published Alex Traiman’s, “The Democratic will of the Voters produced a historic government” on Dec. 30, 2022.

The series of 5 elections has brought the Israeli electoral system to a breaking point. Ending the political stalemate , has proved to be a battle of wills. Traiman understands that the incoming government is not anti-democratic, but most certainly anti-progressive.

The government intends to focus on strengthening  Jewish values. For only the Jewish character of the state makes it strong and unique. “Progressives on the other hand seek for Israel to be a secular extension of Western Europe on the Eastern Mediterranean.”.

After all said and done, is it not our Jewish identity which gives us the right to live here? Progressive politicians  and the Left-wing media has been working tirelessly to sour liberal American Jews against the new government.

Addressing the opposition, the media, the aggressive and disorderly minority crowding the streets, Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu stated, “A democratic regime is tested 1st of all by the willingness of the losing side to accept the majority’s decision.”

JNS , Feb.23,2023: “The Israeli Supreme Court Violates Democratic Norms “by Ken Abramowitz. In this Op-Ed, the writer believes the Israeli Court has too much power and too little oversight. According to him, the Israeli government should insist on the following 7revisions:

[1] The prime minister, as the elected executive, should nominate Supreme Court justices, subject to Knesset approval.

[2] Plaintiffs must seek redress in lower courts before appealing to the Supreme Court.

[3] Justices appointed to the Supreme Court should be the best and the brightest, not the most politically Left-leaning.

[4] The Court must maintain equal protection under the law and stop systematically discriminating against Jews.

[5] The Court cannot be allowed to routinely reject laws passed by the elected Knesset.

[6] The Court cannot routinely seek to criminalize politicians it does not like.

[7] The Court should immediately stop appointing attorneys general and other government  advisors. That is the prime minister’s job.

As for the much aligned PM Netanyahu, Haaretz journalist Anshel Pfeffer has offered an insight into understanding him entitled, “BIBI: The Turbulent Life and Times of Benjamin Netanyahu.”

Pfeffer argues that we must understand Netanyahu as representing the triumph of the underdogs in the Zionist enterprise. Born in 1949, one year after the  establishment of the state of Israel. At the time, Israel was dominated by liberal, secular Zionists in the tradition of David Ben-Gurion.

Yet from early days, Netanyahu identified with the groups at the margins of Israeli society; the right-wing Revisionists , the orthodox, the Mizrahi Jews, the small-time professionals living in the new towns and cities dotting the Israeli landscape. With a vision integrating Jewish nationalism and religious traditionalism, Netanyahu cultivated each faction individually and then fused them into an often unstoppable coalition.

At the same time, Netanyahu is a child of America, where he was influenced by  techniques of modern political campaigns as well as the necessity of controlling the media and being subjected to Cold War conservatism. Besides, he enjoyed his family’s hard-line right-wing Zionism. Pfeffer regards his Israel as a “hybrid of ancient phobia and high-tech hope, tribalism and globalism –just like the man himself.”

From the Indian Wire on Mar. 3, 2023, “Top 10 [?] biggest achievements of Benjamin Netanyahu as Israel’s Prime Minister”:    [ Details on Internet].

[1] Foreign Relations.

[2] State of Security.

[3] Economy.

[4] Technology.

[5] Infrastructure.

[6] Stability.

[7] Religious Identity.

[8] Conclusion.

Chapter 14  in the Book “Bibi “on “Family” adds to understanding. Netanyahu.

The Jerusalem Post editorial of June 13, 2021, appropriately  suggests that “”We must recognize Netanyahu’s achievements, despite his flaws.”

As to the hysteria and abusive behavior in the streets of Israel, reminiscent of America 2020, it is understandable to become disgusted with so-called human beings, who act like savages. On the other hand peaceful rallies are perfectly acceptable, even at times encouraged.

In addressing “The Face of Evil”, Rabbi Jonathan Sacks ZT”L, reminds us of 9/11, when the horror and trauma had subsided, Americans found themselves asking why it had happened? He then references an American thinker, Lee Harris who had authored 2 books, “Civilization and its Enemies” and “The Suicide of Reason.”

In answer to the question, “Why do they hate us?”, Harris answers, “They hate us because we are their enemy.

About the Author
Alex Rose was born in South Africa in 1935 and lived there until departing for the US in 1977 where he spent 26 years. He is an engineering consultant. For 18 years he was employed by Westinghouse until age 60 whereupon he became self-employed. He was also formerly on the Executive of Americans for a Safe Israel and a founding member of CAMERA, New York (Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America and today one of the largest media monitoring organizations concerned with accuracy and balanced reporting on Israel). In 2003 he and his wife made Aliyah to Israel and presently reside in Ashkelon.
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