Background and Helpful Information in Understanding the Current Issues in Israel

Background Memo on the Impact of Proposed Policies called for by Israel’s New Government

What’s at Stake: 

The enactment of many of the policies called for by members of the coalition, most particularly Justice Minister Yariv Levin and Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice Committee chair Simcha Rothman – endorsed by PM Netanyahu — would constitute, or likely result in, an abandonment of the fundamental freedoms enshrined in Israel’s Declaration of Independence and in its Basic Laws. 

It would reject a key, fundamental character of all democracies – a commitment to protect core rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international covenants to which Israel is a signatory – as rights that must be free of majoritarian rule.   

Specifically, under the proposed legislation:  

  • It will be nearly impossible for Israel’s Supreme Court to strike down legislation and the Knesset could override such decisions: 
  • The judiciary will become significantly less independent and judicial selections highly politicized.   
  • Government and ministerial decisions will be immune from judicial review.  
  • The government will no longer be bound by the Attorney General’s legal opinions and will be able to act in violation of the law.    
  • These restrictions on the protections for civil rights together with other proposed policies of key members of the coalition would have a detrimental impact on religious freedom, equality and pluralism in Israel affecting all non-Orthodox and non-Haredi communities and individuals.   
  • The Coalition agreements include a proposed expansion of funding (to the tune of billions of shekels) to the ultra-Orthodox communities, which additionally will result in the cutting of substantial support for the non-Orthodox streams (Reform and Conservative Movements among others). 
Recommended Articles and Videos: