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What caused the division of society in Israel: the whole country came out to demonstrate for the reform

Date: May 26, 2024 Time: 08:33:15

All of Israel came out to demonstrate “for” and “against” the legal reform.

Photo: REUTERS

Dramatic events in Israel: literally the entire country came out to demonstrate “for” and “against” legal reform. Its essence is to change the checks and balances in the public administration system, which will weaken the judiciary and somewhat strengthen the legislative and executive branches, which in Israel are already almost inextricably intertwined. Opponents of the reform see this as a threat to democracy in the country and fear that the current government, headed by Benjamin Netanyahu, will simply usurp power forever. Supporters of reform, on the contrary, believe that the newly elected government legally has the right to make changes to the legislation, in fact, it was precisely for this reason that they were elected, and the losing side cannot reconcile in any way and agitates the people.

The number of supporters and opponents is approximately equal, the protest is better organized and has been holding various rallies and marches throughout the country for 7 months. But the government also has popular support. Society has split, and this split skillfully and vigorously ignites from all sides.

Today, the Knesset passed a bill on second and third reading to limit the operation of the “principle of extreme inadmissibility” or “principle of reasonableness”, which allowed the highest court to strike down almost any law or appointment passed by parliament or the government if they are not followed… but which exactly is a difficult question.

The fact is that in Israel there is no constitution, instead there is a set of basic laws that, in case of disagreement, is interpreted in the spirit of the Declaration of Independence adopted in 1948, in addition, the country has jurisprudence, parallel religious courts of different religions, military administration for Palestinians, and remnants of British and Turkish laws. All this burgeoning complexity did not allow for the adoption of a single constitution in due time, and the founding fathers did their best to balance the system, endowing the supreme court with powers that were excessive for a modern democracy.

Immediately after the vote, which was preceded by 26 hours of non-stop debate, Justice Minister Yariv Levin issued a statement: “We are going on vacation after passing an important law. I don’t feel bad. We have taken the first and important step towards a historic change in the legal system.”

Supreme Court judges are elected collectively and for life, they are practically omnipotent, although to be honest they rarely use their powers. But, of course, this is a pretty tight-knit community, made up mostly of secular Ashkenazi Jews with left-liberal views. The same, however, as almost the entire ruling elite until very recently.

But times have changed, Eastern communities have gained status and weight, there are many times more religious Jews than at the time the state was founded, and everyone wants their representation in government. And in the case of the parliament and the government it forms, they succeeded, though not by a large margin. Now is the time for legal reform.

But there is also a secular and progressive Israel, once this layer of society was the absolute majority: these are the main contributors and soldiers of the Israel Defense Forces, the country prides itself on its scientific achievements and high technologies. But they have missed the opportunity to influence the situation in the elections, their votes are not enough to bring another government to power. Unfortunately, they cannot offer any new social contract acceptable to all, including the Palestinians, since the conflict with them is the Gordian knot in all Israeli problems, which no one has the courage to cut.

At a rather stagnant point, the reservists began to refuse to serve in the army en masse, so much so that ministers and generals unanimously admit that this threatens the security of the state. Already more than a third of combat pilots in Israel have the status of reservists in regular training, they refused to go to them. Other divisions will follow. The Israeli army is one of the few factors of national unity and this is a serious blow both for the defense capacity and for the state itself.

Right now, in the square in front of the Knesset in Jerusalem and on the main highway of Tel Aviv, a crowd of thousands of opponents of the reform is gathering. They have already marched on Jerusalem, blocked the roads and the airport, printed a lot of banners, but this did not help, the law was passed. It is still not clear how much Israeli democracy has suffered from this. An appeal will be filed tomorrow with the High Court of Justice – the High Court of Justice, which can still strike down the law restricting its powers. But then angry reformers will take to the streets, including the more militant “hill youth” (religious settlers) and LaFamilia soccer fans.

Up to this point, all the demonstrations were quite peaceful, without much aggression and violence from either the various protesters or the police. It is curious that, apparently, it is almost impossible to distinguish which particular group is gathering at a particular intersection, they all walk with Israeli flags and use similar symbols, and only slogans make it possible to distinguish one from another: De-mo-kra-tia – Song of secular Jews. De-mo-gra-fia – their religious-nationalist fellow citizens answer them, insinuating that they are already physically bigger.

I do not pretend to predict how it will all end, and the story has no end. But personally, today I will pray for peace, this is my daily prayer, but today Israel will also join it.

* This website provides news content gathered from various internet sources. It is crucial to understand that we are not responsible for the accuracy, completeness, or reliability of the information presented Read More

Puck Henry
Puck Henry
Puck Henry is an editor for ePrimefeed covering all types of news.
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