1 May, 2023, Israel: Thousands of protestors in the streets regarding the proposed judicial change bill. And yet polls show that the high cost of living is the big issue–by a long shot–for Israelis. As for the judicial reform issue, I’ll post my take below:
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Update 2 May, 2023: Judicial reform: Most Western nations which aim for liberty-based self-governance seek for balance between three centers of power: Namely, the Legislative branch, the Executive branch, and the Judicial branch. The three-way tug-of-war ideally results in a fair situation for the benefit of The People.
The Legislative branch – chosen by The People – writes the laws.
The Executive branch implements policy and takes action according to the laws.
The Judicial branch judges transgressors of the laws.
In Israel, for many decades this has not been the case. The Judicial branch has possessed an outsized power to strike down laws which were written by the Legislature (the Knesset). In short, right now the Knesset has debated a bill which would make the process more fair by balancing out the committee which chooses judges: a portion of the committee would be made up of duly elected Knesset members.
Similar systems already exist in recognized Western governments such as Ireland, for example. And yet the global media has castigated Israel for departing from democracy. Actually, the Judicial branch has had too much power for all this time, and the proposed bill would merely reduce that power down to an equal footing with the other branches.
So that’s the main issue. The Left has been in control of the selection process for judges. Meanwhile, ever since the Yom Kippur War of 1973, the populace has been steadily moving from the Left to the Right. Thus, the Knesset has also moved rightward. And yet, the High Court and the court system at large has remained frozen in a leftward position.
Two other issues on the side: First, Israel’s Jewish population has a bitter divide between the Religious minority which trends toward the Right, and the Secular majority which is mainly on the Left. As I wrote, the secular majority has been giving up its voters as the nation moves toward the Right, as can be seen by the distribution of the Knesset’s 120 seats since the 1970’s. This long-standing rift complicates the issue a bit.
Secondly, over the years, Israel has successfully judged several politicians for crimes and placed them in jail, including Arye Deri, former Minister of Interior (which oversees immigration, visas, and citizenship issues), Ehud Olmert, former Prime Minister, and several others. Current Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has several court cases in proceedings, and he certainly would be highly motivated to reduce his chances of guilty verdicts–by any means necessary. I don’t see this as a deciding factor in the issue. The main issue is the current Knesset members goal to build a democratic system with a better balance between the three Branches.
Let us pray and contend for righteousness to prevail in Israel.
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