Photo Credit: University of Haifa Spokesperson
Former AG Avichai Mandelblit at Haifa University's Economic Executive Forum.

“If the State of Israel wants to be ostracized from the family of nations, let the government decide that it will ignore a ruling or an injunction of the Supreme Court,” former Attorney General Prof. Avichai Mandelblit warned on Sunday at Haifa University’s Economic Executive Forum.

“The costs of such a step would be devastating, so I believe that they will not dare to do so,” Mandelblit continued. “And if they do, each and every one of us will have to make very difficult decisions.”


Up to this point, the former AG was expressing his own views, and that’s fine. But then he started to lie about Israel’s Declaration of Independence and the values it supposedly bestowed on the new country.

According to Mandelblit, the State of Israel was established, as it appears from the Declaration of Independence, as the national state of the Jewish people and as a democratic and liberal state.

As I have done more than once before, I give you a link to the official English version of the declaration, as it is presented on the Knesset official website. Check it out.

Paragraph 13, which is the only segment dealing with the values of the new state, reads:

THE STATE OF ISRAEL will be open for Jewish immigration and for the Ingathering of the Exiles; it will foster the development of the country for the benefit of all its inhabitants; it will be based on freedom, justice, and peace as envisaged by the prophets of Israel; it will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex; it will guarantee freedom of religion, conscience, language, education, and culture; it will safeguard the Holy Places of all religions; and it will be faithful to the principles of the Charter of the United Nations.

I defy you to find the word “democracy” anywhere in this paragraph, or, for that matter, anywhere in the entire document, never mind a liberal democracy. The authors did not include a reference to any of that. They may have presumed that democracy was such a natural aspect of renewed Jewish life in Israel that there was no reason to devote a separate paragraph to it. But whatever they had on their mind, they did not establish a liberal democracy. Moreover, their allusion to the values of the new state stemming from “the prophets of Israel” was certainly not in synch with liberal democracy. The prophets of Israel envisioned a just monarchy, with David and his son Solomon as the models of good government.

Mandelblit then continues to either lie or speak out of ignorance, saying that those who are in the “first line of defense” for the values of the Declaration of Independence are the institution of the Attorney General and the Supreme Court, but the legislative measures being promoted today seek to harm the independence of these two bodies.

“Harming the independence of the Attorney General’s Office and the Supreme Court will lead to a situation where we will cease to be a democracy,” he declared. “We will become a dictatorship. If the legal counselors are appointed by the government and the judges are appointed by the government, what is left of the Declaration of Independence? It becomes a piece of paper that can be thrown in the trash,” Mandelblit said.

Let’s go back to the Declaration of Independence, the one with all the values? The words “court,” “judge,” “attorney general,” or even “legal” do not appear there. It’s not because the authors didn’t believe in the institutions of justice, but because they did not see them as superior to the other branches of state government. Indeed, for close to 50 years, there was no need to restrain the court’s lust for supremacy over the Knesset and the Government. The need to pass the Yariv Levin set of amendments was borne by the unbridled voraciousness of unelected judges to take over every aspect of the country, including its economy, military, appointments – everything.

Half-way through, the Declaration of Independence notes that the “recognition by the United Nations of the right of the Jewish people to establish their State is irrevocable,” and continues: “This right is the natural right of the Jewish people to be masters of their own fate, like all other nations, in their own sovereign State.”

Sovereignty, and not liberal democracy, is the central value of Israel’s Declaration of Independence. It’s high time you read it, Mr. Mandelblit.


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