How will the judicial reform impact Israel's hi-tech sector? Shlomo Dovrat, co-founder and General Partner at Viola Ventures, Chairman of the Aaron Institute for Economic Policy explains the crucial role the hi-tech industry plays in Israel's economy and the stark implications of the judicial overhaul on its future.
Prof. Eric Maskin and Prof. Paul Milgrim, both Nobel Prize laureates, express their concern over the proposed judicial overhaul during a special conference held at IDI on the econonic consequences of the reform.
The Israeli judicial system’s independence and professionalism protect IDF commanders from prosecution in international courts. A close look at the planned judicial overhaul leads to the conclusion that if implemented it would increase the risk to Israeli citizens and make it harder for the country to protect them in the future.
The proposed bill contravenes the basic values of the State of Israel, flouts international treaties Israel has signed and will limit its moral superiority over terrorists. The bill will expose Israel to harsh international condemnation, and it will hamper, rather than alleviate efforts in the war against terror.
In recent years, there have been attempts to enact the “override clause” in Israel, a legal provision that would enable the Knesset to override the Supreme Court’s rulings in cases in which it strikes down legislation. This week the Constitution, Law and Justice Committee is discussing a draft of such a law.
Downgrading the independence of government legal advisers is not among the highest-profile proposals to reform the Israeli legal system being advanced by Israel’s new right-wing government, but weakening the status of government legal advisers is actually an important and troubling part of the government’s package of proposed reforms.
"Lets talk about the rules of the game to ensure that Israel remains both Jewish and democratic, today and tomorrow"
Since 1953, judicial appointments in Israel have been made through a Judicial Selection Committee in which legal professionals—judges and lawyers—are in the majority and politicians in the minority. The new Israeli government’s plans for legal reform turn this system on its head and allow the coalition to fully control appointments to all parts of the judiciary, thus consolidating its dominant position in all three branches of government.
Political discontent with the power relationship between the judiciary and the political branches has been percolating since the 1990s, often in connection with criminal proceedings against senior politicians. Prof. Amichai Cohen and Dr. Yuval Shany provide context for the ongoing debate concerning recent legal developments in Israel, so that outside observers can follow them more closely.
The Index reveals that regarding the proposed plan to overhaul the judicial system, 43% describe the initiative is “bad” – while 31% describe it is “good.” A quarter of respondents said that they do not have an opinion on the Levin plan. A large majority (64%) are in favor of dialogue between the different political camps regarding the proposed legislative changes in an attempt to reach compromise.
The appointment of conservative judges to the court, and even the enactment of a certain version of the override clause, will not bring about the destruction of the Supreme Court, and will certainly not turn Israel into a totalitarian state. However, the continued attacks on the Court, and the potential passage of the most extreme proposals pose a serious challenge to Israeli democracy.
A special survey Jacobs Center for Shared Society and the Viterbi Family Center for Public Opinion and Policy Research, found that almost half of Israelis think that the diaspora Jewry should be part of the public debate on the Law of Return and 51% think that canceling the "grandchild clause" in the Law of Return is liable to significantly reduce immigration to Israel.
The debate surrounding the Override Clause should really focus on the disproportionate power of the Knesset and not on the power of the Supreme Court. All other democracies have structural mechanisms that limit the concentration of power in the hands of one institutions - we must create such a mechanism in Israel as well.