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Bills to ‘Balance the Power’ of the Court Doomed – for Now

The US enjoys a “check and balances” system of legislative, judicial and executive powers. In Israel, the leftwing keeps an imbalance. The rightwing is too immature to succeed to pass a bill to change it.
Bills to restore the balance of power in Israel will be fought by the not-so-judicial left.

Bills to restore the balance of power in Israel will be fought by the not-so-judicial left.

The Supreme Court conveniently has stayed out of issues of security concerning petitions against releasing thousands of terrorists and security prisoners in return for even a single soldier.

Barak is out of power, but his heirs and legacy dominate the court.

In light of what has become a judicial state by virtue of cancelling Knesset laws that it considers a violation of the Basic Law, Ayelet Shaked of the Jewish Home party and Yariv Levin of the Likud party are sponsoring the bills to restore a balance of power.

Under their proposal, the Knesset would have the power to overturn a Supreme Court with an absolute majority of 61 votes, instead of the current 80.

Another change would reduce the Supreme Court’s representation from three to one on the  panel that elects judges. MK Levin stated Sunday that the changes are aimed at returning the judicial system to a more “Jewish and Zionist” way of thinking.

That is why the bills are not likely to succeed, at least not in the near future.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu previously has opposed similar efforts, and it is unlikely that Naftali Bennett, head of the Jewish Home party, will be willing to risk breaking up the coalition government by going head-to-head with the Prime Minister, especially with Justice Minister Tzipi Livni making at a “red line” issue. She tore into the proposal Sunday, unsurprisingly calling it undemocratic.

Anything is undemocratic in Israeli politics when it weakens the Left.

Levin stated on Israeli radio Sunday that the current system is built on the clubhouse idea of “cronyism,” and that is exactly why the powers-to-be will fight tooth and nail against a change.

The left-wing establishment, often correctly, is scared stiff of nationalists and rabbis. They often have done no good to the national religious movement with a narrow view that places the development of Judea and Samaria and funding its yeshiva as the only worthwhile national priorities.

That is why Yoram Rabin, head of an Israel college of management, told Israel radio Sunday, “As always, only what is right-wing is Zionist, and if it’s not right-wing, it’s anti-democratic.”

Labor party leader Shelly Yachimovich was quoted as saying, “The Right is forgetting that democracy does not only mean majority rule but respecting minority rights.”

If there was ever a case of the “pot calling the kettle black,” she gets the big prize.

What MKs Yachimovich and Livni, Yediot Acharonot, the Voice of Israel, Yair Lapid and his Yesh Atid party and their diminishing number of cohorts  do not understand is that it is only a matter of time until the national religious community matures enough to win the day.

About the Author: Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu is a graduate in journalism and economics from The George Washington University. He has worked as a cub reporter in rural Virginia and as senior copy editor for major Canadian metropolitan dailies. Tzvi wrote for Arutz Sheva for several years before joining the Jewish Press.


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