Op-ed

We Need a Constitution

| Written By:

In an op-ed published in Haaretz on June 23, 2010, IDI Vice President Prof. Mordechai Kremnitzer reaffirms the need for a constitution for Israel, responds to criticism of IDI's draft constitution, and challenges others to come up with their own constitution proposals.

On June 16, 2010, Haaretz published an article by Aluf Benn entitled "A Danger Called Constitution." Written in response to columnist and TV personality Yair Lapid's call for a constitution for the State of Israel, the article included the following criticism of IDI's draft proposal for an Israeli constitution, 'Constitution by Consensus':

"Constitution by Consensus, backed by former Supreme Court president Meir Shamgar, promises 'stability, public transparency, equality and unity.' To get there, its authors offer the religious a deal: closing down malls on Shabbat and preserving the rabbis' control over marriage and divorce in exchange for 'civil unions'—a second-class form of civil marriage. If this is the constitution they are offering, it would be best to give up and stick with Ben-Gurion's tradition of no constitution."

In his response, published in Haaretz on June 23, 2010, IDI Vice President Prof. Mordechai Kremnitzer reaffirms the need for a constitution in order to ensure human and civil rights in Israel, contextualizes Benn's criticism of IDI's draft constitution, and challenges others to come up with their own constitution proposals. An excerpt follows below.

 

"Embedded in his criticism of anchorman Yair Lapid, Aluf Benn considered it proper to critique the need for a constitution in Israel, and particularly the Israel Democracy Institute's proposal for one ("A danger called constitution," Haaretz, June 16).


Those who are not sensitive to human rights, and especially the human rights of minorities, won't find it difficult to agree with Benn. However, as he positions himself on the other side—the correct side of the divide—of those who care about civil rights, a question quickly arises: Is it possible to ensure human and civil rights without a constitution? That is its main purpose, after all, which is carried out via a document outlining human rights and through judiciary supervision over legislation.


Without a constitution, the majority, in line with the rules of formal democracy, can discriminate against the minority and even strip it of its rights.


This concern does not lack a basis. Suffice it for us to remember the bills that come up once in a while, threatening to destroy the soul of Israeli democracy, and the waves of hatred directed against the Supreme Court whenever it fulfills its duty" 

Read the full article on the Haaretz website 


Prof. Mordechai Kremnitzer is Vice President of the Israel Democracy Institute and a professor of criminal law at Hebrew University.

    Tags:
    constitution