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:
- MK Rabbi Gilad Kariv – Understanding the Israeli Judicial Overhaul Here is a link to a downloadable version of the full video from a speech given by MK Rabbi Gilad Kariv at Brooklyn Heights Synagogue on Saturday night March 18, 2023. This is one of the most comprehensive and in-depth explanations of what is happening in Israel at this moment ranging from the legislative agenda to the protest movements including the role and opportunities for Diaspora Jews.
- MK Rabbi Gilad Kariv’s speech at the UnXceptable protest – Washington Square Park, NYC, March 19, 2023.
- A Proposal to Overhaul the Judiciary Is Roiling Israel. What Is the Plan? – New York Times The government says its plan is a much-needed reform to curb the influence of an overreaching judiciary; critics say it will undermine the country’s democratic institutions.
- By Isabel Kirshner
- Israel Needs Judicial Reform—but How? – Wall Street Journal Editorial Board The right may have to compromise. The left may have to calm down.
- What’s going on with Israel’s planned judicial reforms? – Jewish Unpacked “It’s our right to scream, it’s our obligation to scream, that’s how it is in a democracy.”
- By Sara Himeles
- Judicial Reform 101: What you need to know about the protests in Israel
- By Natasha Kirtchuk – i24 News
- Times of Israel Podcast – “What Matters Now?”
Israel Policy Forum’s Judicial Legislation Tracker .This page tracks the various judicial overhaul bills being proposed by the Israeli government and will be continually updated.
How to talk to Each Other about Israeli politics? There are of course many educational resources to use in speaking with one another and with students. The following is a list of educational resources to be used for creating a culture of courageous conversation:
- URJ’s 4 Hatikva Questions Curriculum
The curriculum is based on the framework of the 4 Hatikva Questions – “To Be”, “A People”, “Free”, “In Our Land,” taken from the penultimate line of Israel’s National Anthem “Hatikva”. It is a resource to address all of Israel’s complexities in a safe and thorough way, focusing on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and religious pluralism in Israel.
It is available to all Reform Movement Institutions.
- URJ’s 4 Hatikva Questions Curriculum