Attempts to reform the Israeli Judiciary

Judicial Reform and the Implications for Israeli Democracy

in this edited transcript of her conversation with BICOM Director Richard Pater, Vice-President of Research at the Israel Democracy Institute Professor Suzie Navot argues that judicial reforms proposed by the right-wing bloc – to Knesset override of the Supreme Court, executive immunity, and the appointment of judges – threaten Israeli democracy and the already fragile separation of powers.

The most important problem in Israel, especially following these elections, is the fact that unlike any other place in the world, any ordinary majority in the Knesset can enact, amend, and delete any Basic Law – or any law – in a normal law-making procedure, in three readings, and even within one day. Which means that the politicians in Israel – and only in Israel – have the possibility to change the constitutional rules of the game at any time- between the system of government, the nature of Israel. All you need is the magic number of 61 because it’s not only the minimum number needed to form a government, a coalition, but also all you need to change Israel’s constitutional arrangement, to change the authority of the court, the system of government: to become a presidential state, or a monarchy, a non-democratic state, or to limit or even delete any human right. That makes Israel really very problematic when we are talking about the dangers of populism and the power – or the absolute power – of the ruling coalition.

Suzie Navot Vice President of Research at the Israeli Democracy Institute

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