Judicial reform in Israel: decision day
The final vote on Israel’s controversial judicial reform will take place in the Knesset today, Monday. Last night tens of thousands once more gathered to demonstrate against legislation that could limit the powers of the Supreme Court and give the government more power. Europe’s press voices its concern but also sees hopeful signs.
Civil society is awakening
Commenting in the Financial Times, historian Yuval Noah Harari is optimistic that the people of Israel will not accept a slide into dictatorship:
“The good news is that in recent months a powerful resistance movement has emerged to save Israeli democracy. Rejecting the ideology of Jewish supremacy, and connecting to ancient traditions of Jewish tolerance, hundreds of thousands of Israelis are demonstrating, protesting and resisting in every nonviolent way we know. Since Friday, more than 10,000 army reservists — including hundreds of air force pilots, cyber warfare experts, and commanders of elite units — have publicly declared that they will not serve a dictatorship, and that they will therefore suspend their service if the judiciary overhaul continues.”
Half a democracy does not work
Israel will face a serious existential crisis even if a compromise is reached, the Tages-Anzeiger comments:
“In the economy, the high-tech sector is already feeling the decline triggered by the withdrawal of investments, and a brain drain will follow. At the diplomatic level, relations with allies, from Washington to Abu Dhabi, are suffering. ... There is no sign of a way out of this existential crisis, even if in the end some kind of consensus on judicial reform is reached. In terms of world views, the two camps have grown so far apart that a compromise hardly seems possible. A little liberalism is not enough, half a democracy does not work.”