Democratic Values and Institutions Program

The program for Democratic Values and Institutions is designed to strengthen the state's commitment to the core democratic values enshrined in Israel's Declaration of Independence. The program works to thwart populist legislative initiatives, defend democratic institutions from attempts to undermine them, combat racism and hate speech and promote the values of freedom, equality, separation of powers and the rule of law.

Among other initiatives, the program has developed a manual for good legislation for the Knesset, launched media campaigns to block particularly harmful initiatives, and worked with elected and appointed officials across the political spectrum to explain the consequences of bad legislation and convince them to adopt more favorable alternatives.

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    Prof. Mordechai Kremnitzer

    Senior Fellow

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    Prof. Mordechai Kremnitzer is a Senior Fellow at IDI and he previously served as the Institute's Vice President of Research.

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    Prof. Yuval Shany

    Senior Fellow

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    Among other things, he has researched questions of right to equality, security detention, interrogation techniques, on-line surveillance and content moderation, military investigations, proportionality in the application of force, jurisdiction of international criminal tribunals and counterterrorism.

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    Dr. Guy Lurie

    Research Fellow

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    Dr. Guy Lurie is an attorney and holds a PhD in History from Georgetown University (2013). He a former coordinator of the Shamgar Commission for the Formulation of Rules of Ethics for Members of the Government, and served as a post-doctoral fellow on the Faculty of Law at the University of Haifa.

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    Dr. Amir Fuchs

    Senior Researcher

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    Dr. Amir Fuchs holds a doctorate from the Faculty of Law at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and is a lecturer in the Politics and Communication Department at the School of Government and Social Sciences at Hadassah Academic College.

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    Dr. Nadav Dagan

    Senior Researcher

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    Dr. Dagan Holds a PhD from Bar-Ilan University, LLM with specialism in Public Law and Human Rights Law from University College London (UCL), and LLB from the University of Haifa.

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    Dr. Moran Kandelshtein-Haina


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    Researcher and lecturer in the fields of public law. Dr. Kandelshtein-Haina holds a doctorate from the Faculty of Law at the Bar-Ilan University and is a lecturer in the school of Law at the Netanya Academic College. The doctoral thesis she wrote dealt with the constitutional status of the prime minister in parliamentary systems. Areas of expertise: institutional constitutional law, administrative law, the Executive.

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    Adv. Daphne Benvenisty

    Research Assistant

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    Daphne is a research assistant at the Center for Democratic Values and Institutions. She holds an LL.B and an LL.M, both from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. She has clerked at the Supreme Court in the chambers of Justice Neal Hendel.

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    Adv. Sapir Paz

    Research Assistant

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    Advocate Paz completed her L.L.B (magna cum laude) at the Hebrew University in 2020. She completed her legal internship in the State Attorney's office at the High Court of Justice Department and was licensed as a lawyer in Israel in 2021.
    In 2022, she worked as a law clerk to Judge Eyal Avrahami, the President of the Regional Labor Court in Jerusalem, and later as law clerk to Judge Varda Virt-Livne, the President of the National Labor Court of Israel.
    Sapir is also a Masters student in the Critical Cultural Studies program at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

The UN report paints a disturbing picture in which countries experience “autocratization”—an erosion of the foundations of democracy—through actions that undermine the judicial system’s independence. In Israel, the current government is aiming to undermine judicial independence in order to consolidate its power and authority at the expense of individual rights and the rule of law.

A state commission of inquiry is a vital step, but it is up to the public to ensure Israel's leaders are truly held accountable.

The Labor and Meretz parties recently announced their intention to merge. Though these are relatively small parties today—Meretz has no representation at all in the current Knesset, and Labor has just four seats—this is still a significant event from a historical perspective and within the Zionist left.

Dr. Ariel Finkelstein warns that the proposed new "Rabbis Law" would weaken the standing of local communities, could lead to cronyism, reduce women's representation and more. 

The head of the National Unity party, Benny Gantz, announced that his party would be leaving the coalition. This exit, together with the resignation from the government of New Hope headed by Gideon Sa’ar around two months ago, restores the coalition to its original size of 64 MKs and six factions.

While the Israeli public has been focusing on the war and on the hostages in Gaza, the government—led by the minister of justice—has been preparing an assault on the independence of the judicial system.

The discussion in the Supreme Court yesterday was not about whether a law exempting yeshiva students harms the principle of equality. It was about a much more basic question: is the State of Israel acting in accordance with the principle of the rule of law—that is, can yeshiva students be exempted from enlisting in the IDF, when there is no law allowing for this.

Women in senior government positions are leaving their roles, the number of victims of domestic violence is rising, and the prevailing spirit from the government does not bode well. Now more than ever, there must be a call for immediate and fundamental change in placing women's rights at the top of the national agenda.

The International Court of Justice in The Hague (ICJ) issued new temporary orders against Israel this week. Justice Barak’s dissenting opinion would seem to offer an important lesson for the future. Professional, focused, and well-founded legal criticism—as opposed to the very different means that are currently being widely discussed and pursued—is likely the best way to deal with the ICJ.

Demands to lower the flames of criticism cannot legitimately be made by a government taking actions driven by narrow political interests. If the government does not act in a nonpartisan manner, they cannot demand those who hold different views refrain from opposing political action. 

Judicial overhaul initiatives, along with other anti-democratic measures, have continued to be promoted by the government and the coalition in the Knesset. This document outlines the various actions taken in government that weaken the Israeli judiciary and democracy at large.

What has produced the rise in the President’s confidence rating? One explanation is the public’s yearning for nonpartisanship in a time of crisis. 

V-Dem's latest report downgraded Israel's status from a "liberal democracy" to an "electoral democracy." The change in Israel's category is concerning, but on its own, it does not necessarily indicate a clear democratic decline. 

The National Unity faction in the Knesset is disbanding and reverting into the two parties that composed its list of candidates in the last election. The splitting of joint lists does not contribute to political stability. It contributes to fragmentation within the political system and may be perceived as political cynicism.

A state commission of inquiry was established on January 23, 2022 to investigate Israel’s acquisition of submarines and other naval vessels. Earlier this week, it sent ‘letters of warning’ to Prime Minister Netanyahu and other senior officials. Dr. Dana Blander, a research fellow at the Israel Democracy Institute, explains the differences between Israel's various types of commissions of inquiry.

Between 1996 and 2015, there was a real improvement in women's representation in the Knesset. Since 2015, however, it seems this upward trend has stalled and female legislative representation is faltering, especially compared to other democracies.

From a historical perspective, the proportion of female heads of local authorities in Israel has been extremely low—essentially negligible throughout most decades. How does women’s representation in local authorities during the first two decades of the 21st century compare?

All too often the Knesset amends Israel's Basic Laws - how does this compare with other parliamentary democracies?

For local government to be able to truly represent all residents and understand the diversity of their different needs, it is important that there be appropriate representation of men and women alike

The Declaration of Independence expresses a deep commitment to freedom, justice and peace in the spirit of the vision of the Biblical prophets, those semi-tragic figures who rebuked the people and their leaders for their behavior. Or in other words, the gatekeepers.

The proposed government resolution fails to explain why a National Guard is needed, how to ensure that it does not target minority groups unjustifiably, and what the division of labor will be with the police. It is also liable to result in the increased militarization of law enforcement in Israel, which could lead to disproportionate infringement of human rights.

The battle against the judicial overhaul is not being waged only to safeguard democracy, it is also a fight to preserve Zionism itself.

Reducing the possibility of invalidating legislation and the rest of the initiatives will further undermine the protection of the rights of the Arab minority in Israel, whose trust in the judicial system has steadily decreased in recent years - but is still high in relation to trust in other institutions.

A professional opinion by the Israel Democracy Institute presented in advance of the session of the Knesset Committee on the Status of Women and Gender Equality on February 20, 2023

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.

Rabbinical courts, where appointments are based on political loyalty, offer a cautionary model of a judicial nightmare

The second article in this series describes in depth how the Supreme Court used its authority, why it encountered a backlash, and what current proposals to limit the power of the Court to exercise judicial review over Knesset legislation look like.

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.

5 other ideas for upgrading Israel's judicial system – without destroying democracy, doing away with the mechanisms for oversight of the government or harming our basic rights.

The recently published opinion by the Attorney General, Adv. Gali Baharav-Miara, makes clear that the proposal "reform" makes no attempt to enhance the balance among the branches of government: It is quite simply a demand for unlimited government power.

Turning ministry legal advisors into political appointees will deprive them of their ability to protect the rule of law and will reduce public trust in the ministries.

What provisions does Israeli law provide for the possibility of declaring the Prime Minister "Incapacitated". IDI expert explains

Regardless of whether the proposals that might curtail equality and human dignity pass or not in the end, it is hard not to be concerned about the very fact that such ideas are even advanced and are viewed favorably by Knesset members

The Ministerial Committee on Legislation is a powerful force behind legislation in Israel – therefore it isn’t surprising that Ben-Gvir is vying for the position of Vice-Chairman.

The bill to amend the Police Ordinance has been compared to practices in other countries - however it ignores the fact that other countries have in place procedures that guarantee the operational independence of the police when it implements the policies laid down to guide its actions

The blow would be hardest for organizations whose role is to defend vulnerable groups, including; those living below the poverty line, the elderly, women, and people with disabilities.

Moving units from one ministry to the next, to satisfy political needs, has a negative impact on the Ministries' ability to provide the necessary service at a high level.

If Netanyahu's new government implements its plans, human rights may soon depend on majorities. Israel's delicate political structure makes this possible.

Despite controversy, changes to the Judicial Selection Committee, must be made with broad consensus - and not by slimmest of majorities.

Why it is a bad idea to allow the coalition the deciding voice in the appointment of Supreme Court justices? Is it true that in Israel, judges appoint themselves? The complete guide to the impending constitutional reform.

Israel still has no constitution, and the separation of powers seems fragile. What challenges will Israel’s democracy face in the next government?

The optimistic hope that the majority will not take advantage of its power to perpetuate its rule is akin to leaving the cream to be guarded by 61 cats. The temptation is just too strong.

The new coalition's shortage of women and its proposed High Court override clause are a danger to the struggle for gender equality in Israel.

In this edited transcript of her conversation with BICOM Director Richard Pater, Vice-President of Research at the Israel Democracy Institute Professor Suzie Navot argues that judicial reforms proposed by the right-wing bloc – to Knesset override of the Supreme Court, executive immunity, and the appointment of judges – threaten Israeli democracy and the already fragile separation of powers.

Turning court rulings into a “recommendation” that the Knesset could override, is likely to exacerbate tensions that already exists between the Supreme Court and the Knesset.

The proposal to abolish the Judicial Selections Committee would lead to politicization of the judiciary, undermine judges’ independence, and shift the careful balance reached through it between the branches of government.

Israel's Security Cabinet is set to vote on a maritime agreement with Lebanon, but with the elections coming up, can an outgoing government sign such a deal and does it have to be ratified by the Knesset or by referendum?

Disqualifying candidates and lists for the Knesset violates one of the most fundamental democratic rights, the right to vote and to be elected. Therefore, it must be done with the utmost care, judgment and objectivity. Who can reject candidates and lists for the Knesset, and on what is the criteria? IDI experts answer these questions.

Democracy is not just majority rule, but ensuring that all segments of society are provided with the opportunity to take part in a free and fair political process. For Israel, this means ensuring that the Bedouin population has equal opportunity to place their vote in the upcoming election.

The study, by Dr. Dana Blander, finds that Israel is the only country where sitting members of parliament serve as members of the body that administers and oversees the elections, without any threshold conditions. The members of Knesset and the other members that are party representatives sitting on the Central Election Committee have the authority to make consequential decisions regarding to the election they themselves are usually competing in - including disqualifying lists and the candidates running against them in the election.

In Israel, judges sit on the bench until they reach the age of 70, while advocates for changing the current method of their appointment often support the idea of limiting Supreme Court judges’ tenure.

The problem with the Nation-State Basic Law is what it fails to mention - equality! Thus excluding Israel’s minorities who call the country home.

Israel is the only democracy whose constitution or basic laws omit all mention of the right to equality –leaving a gaping hole that must be filled.

As Israel celebrates its 74th birthday - what must be done to bolster social solidarity? Education, education and education!

The proposal to hold the public hearing of the Judicial Selection Committee is a reasonable arrangement and the fact it was agreed to by the President of Supreme Court, indicates that it is intended to increase public confidence in the selection process of justices.

Israel should adopt a more hospitable policy towards Ukrainian asylum seekers and afford them with short-term stay permits

This task is certainly feasible. Unfortunately, the current political reality in the Knesset seems to indicate that we are still a long way from achieving this ideal.

The clash between Putin’s Russia and international institutions is a shock to the existing world order.

The text proposed in the draft bill of a new Basic Law: Rights during Interrogation and in Criminal Proceedings, must be revised, because its scope is too narrow. Although the bill is a welcome initiative, it should be expanded and lead to the Knesset's passage of a Basic Law that provides constitutional protection of the right to due process and its derivative rights.


Israel’s rules governing privacy and related laws have experienced a dramatic past few weeks. These developments started with an Israeli Supreme Court ruling in favor of relaxed rules governing cellphone search warrants and ended with an expose revealing that Israeli police have been using NSO Group spyware allegedly without warrants or explicit statutory authorization.

Among assertions that a limited tenure for justices would prevent excessive influence by past governments on the current composition of the Supreme Court bench and allow the current government to replace a larger number of justices - what is the average tenure of Israeli Supreme Court justices?

Recent media reports alleging that the police are using controversial surveillance software to spy on Israeli citizens has troubling implications and the current Protection of Privacy Law is not equipped to cope with today’s reality. Israel badly needs new legislation that is up to the challenges of the information age.

As former Prime Minister Netanyahu weighs the option of a plea bargain, IDI experts weigh in on the legal standing of such an agreement and its ramifications.

There should be a real commitment to improving Israel's political system and correcting its flaws.

Despite a decline in trust - the public still believes that in the Court’s role as a professional independent entity and guardian of democratic principles.

Israel Democracy Institute researchers welcome the move to anchor the right to equality in a Basic Law, and note the urgent need for this step, particularly in light of the Nation-State Law. At the same time, the researchers also recommend a series of amendments to the bill.

Even if we accept the argument that lowering the exemption age exacerbates existing discrimination, we should still assess the proportionality of this harm. Basic rights such as equality are not absolute, and are sometimes subject to restrictions in the face of a pressing public interest.

In Israel, there are frequent complaints about over-regulation, burdensome bureaucracy and inefficient law. On the other hand, many acknowledge that there are areas where regulations are lacking or out of date. IDI experts weigh in and explains the proposed new law that are set to reform Israel's regulatory framework.

The imminent retirement of Judge Kara will leave the Supreme Court without an Arab justice, yet there is only one Arab candidate on the list of possible replacements. We must move beyond filling the "Arab chair" and ensure proportional representation of Arabs as well as women and Mizrahim in the courts

Equality should be enshrined in a broad Basic Law that defines Israel as a democratic state - to create the proper balance between the Jewish and democratic components of Israel's identity, a balance that was upset by the Nation-State Law

Prof. Amichai Cohen discusses his new book The Constitutional Revolution and Counter-Revolution, and explains the changing role of the High Court of Justice in maintaining the checks and balances of Israeli democracy.


Edna Harel-Fischer sits down with the Tel Aviv Review and unpacks the recent controversy around governance/governability in Israel: How did it become a partisan issue? And what is the role of the public service in safeguarding the will of the people?

There are no provisions for limiting the tenure of prime ministers in parliamentary democracies such as Israel, and any new rules must be objective and not made to satisfy political needs

Israel needs a president who will position social solidarity and common purpose as supreme values as an alternative to the toxic competition between the competing political blocs that have held the Israeli people hostage.

IDI experts answer questions on the balance of powers at the Security Council, whether any dramatic resolutions can be expected, and the extent to which the debate and international pressure effect the IDF.

The disregard shown for the Basic Law of Government, signed coalition agreements and the Attorney General’s legal ruling is unacceptable - agreement must be reached in appointing a Minister of Justice

The decision not to convene the Arrangements Committee prevents the Knesset from conducting itself as a legislative body and performing its oversight duties

In an age of waning trust in state institutions and an ongoing health and democratic crisis, the public must be able to look towards the courts as a staunch defender of human rights and democratic structure.

Four elections in two years failed to produce decisive results - what's wrong with Israel's political system and is there is any way out of its current political stalemate?

Prime Minister Netanyahu is promoting legislation that that will institute direct elections for prime minister. How would this proposal work? Will it resolve the political stalemate? Would the Supreme Court rule on its legality? IDI experts weigh in.


The latest judgement in a series of legal challenges to controversial measures adopted by the Israeli government in response to COVID, shows that the Supreme Court still plays an important role in checking government excess and reaffirming basic democratic and human rights values

There is no doubt that the Government has an obligation to employ meaningful measures against the pandemic, but the ease with which it was willing to infringe basic rights—is most disturbing

In Israel any individual or organization can request the disqualification of an electoral list - also interesting to note that there is no equivalent to the Central Elections Committee in any other democratic state

The Supreme Court ruled to limit contact tracing but is it really possible to put an end to the ISA’s bulk coronavirus surveillance?

Setting sweeping restrictions on Israeli citizens’ ability to return to the country from overseas is extremely problematic from a constitutional perspective and is without parallel in the democratic world

A bill to include the right to equality in Israel's Basic Laws recently passed a preliminary reading in the Knesset. This is a much-needed amendment to an existing law, which would provide Israelis with legal provision that exists in the constitution of all democratic countries.

The Prime Minister's trial reconvenes with a pandemic raging and the elections camping continuing. What can we expect?

In the midst of a fourth election in two years, IDI President Yohanan Plesner sat down with the Tel Aviv Review to discuss how Israel can emerge from the ongoing political crisis that has left it without a stable government, a state budget and an effective response to the COVID-19 pandemic.


Banning users from social media platforms raises concerns about free speech protections online

The public has given the Police a failing grade for fairness and transparency. Does the public believe this can change? Not really.

With the exception of issues related to the coronavirus pandemic, this Knesset has passed almost no legislation, and this government has met only rarely.

"Legislative declarations do not remain purely "declarative". They have consequences." Dr. Amir Fuchs explains.

As democracies struggle with the balance between health restrictions and freedom of assembly, Israel has limited protests to a one kilometer radius from their homes during the country's lockdown. How does this compare to other democracies?

As the contentious debates about protests and prayers continues in Israel, we must recognize that there is no room for imposing unjustified restrictions on the basic rights of one group of citizens, simply because this will make it easier to impose justified restrictions on the basic rights of another

Senior governmental positions remain unfilled as political bickering has delayed appointments. Israeli law lays out a clear process for how such appointments must be made and the government should do so without further delay.

Elections are an attempt, not always successful, to translate the voters’ wishes into a well-functioning and representative government - however no democracy anywhere in the world makes do with elections to a single institution as the only means for implementing democracy

Israel's system for appointing top law enforcement officials must not be changed 

As the police are increasingly drawn into a conflict between protecting the right to protest and attempts to politicize their work, it is clear that appointment of a full-time commissioner is long overdue

Legislation giving ministers total authority over decision-making sets dangerous precedent for Israeli democracy and chaotic decision making will surely diminish the already-dwindling public trust in both government and future emergency regulations

What are the possible human rights implications of annexing parts of the West Bank? In these experts from a more detailed analysis in Hebrew, IDI  detail the rights that might be violated if the plan moves forward.


IDI President Yohanan Plesner and VP of Research Prof. Yuval Shany held an online briefing for the diplomatic community in Israel focusing on potential plans by the government to apply sovereignty in parts of the West Bank.

IDI experts held today an online briefing focusing on potential plans by Israel's government to apply sovereignty in areas of the West Bank as part of the U.S’ ‘Deal of the Century’

With calls to enact an 'override clause' to push back against judicial review back in the news, Dr. Amir Fuchs analyzed the twenty laws the Court has overturned since Israel's establishment

The Israeli public deserves leadership that isn't weighed down by a track record of incoherent instructions, selective enforcement, and politicians’ own failure to comply

The fast-moving escalation in the conflict between President Trump and Twitter in the last week of May may prove in hindsight to be a watershed development for the legal architecture of online social media.

The proposed bill, which is slated to replace the existing emergency regulations, limits Knesset oversight - the very reason this 'primary legislation' is so necessary

After three contentious election campaigns Israel's new government has been sworn in. IDI's experts weigh-in with their recommendations on the most important issues on the agenda. 

After three contentious election campaigns Israel's new government has been sworn in. IDI's experts weigh-in with their recommendations on the most important issues on the agenda. Edna Harel-Fisher presents recommendations on cultural policy.

It's one of democracy's substantial achievements: just like every citizen, Netanyahu will stand before 3 judges, whose task is to decide whether he is innocent or guilty


With Prime Minister Netanyahu's groundbreaking trial is set to commence next week, Professor Yuval Shany, IDI's Vice President of Research, and Dr. Amir Fuchs, the head of the Defending Democratic Values Program, briefed journalists on how the court process will proceed and the long-term legal implications of trying a sitting prime minister.

Israel's High Court handed down a unanimous decision - and the public saw for themselves that there was no devious plot to undermine the separation of powers.

Many Israelis attribute a left-wing bias to the Supreme Court and accuse it of extreme activism, but the hearings that were broadcast live highlight the vast gulf between the Court's image and the reality

IDI’s Dr. Amir Fuchs speaks with Richard Pater of Bicom about the recent Supreme Court hearing and the rulings they handed downs regarding the new government

IDI researchers testified before the Knesset's Special Committee: Personal and retroactive changes should not be made to legislation regarding the Prime Minister's legal status

This is a familiar plague: rewriting the game rules of democracy to suit changing political circumstances has become the norm in Israel.

IDI President Yohanan Plesner held an online media briefing and Q&A session on the new coalition agreement between the Likud and Blue and White parties.

Israel is not adequately preparing its younger generation to be responsible citizens and must work now to improve its civics education curriculum.

IDI's management convened an online 'town hall' with Yohanan Plesner, Yuval Shany, Karnit Flug and Jesse Ferris to discuss the political, constitutional and economic fallout from the corona crisis, and IDI’s unique role in addressing it. 

Israel is not the only country in which the court system has been curtailed, or had its activity modified, as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Many countries are taking such measures, while at the same time striving to refrain from harming citizen's basic right of available access to courts.
Included are several examples from around the world.

We should take advantage of the opportunity that the coronavirus presents to improve our children's education.

Speaker of the Knesset Yuli Edelstein has resigned so as not to comply with the Supreme Court ruling to hold elections for a new speaker - what happens next? IDI’s Dr. Amir Fuchs explains

Israel finds itself in an unprecedented political situation at a time it must face a worldwide pandemic.

Even a life-saving measure must be weighed against the threat it poses to democracy -- we do it all the time

Prime Minister Netanyahu’s trial in the Jerusalem District Court is to begin on March 17th. Dr. Amir Fuchs, a researcher at the Israel Democracy Institute provides responses to key questions as to what this process will look like.

The UN Human Rights Council published a database of Israeli and international companies operating in the West Bank - what are the ramifications and possible outcomes?

What are the legal barriers standing in the way of the current government implementing the U.S.'s “Deal of the Century” peace plan?

Regardless of the decision regardin PM Netanyahu's request for immunity - the debate will revolve around the more important question: the status of the rule of law in Israel

Given the dark insinuations in the PM's request for Knesset immunity, a vote in his favor would be a vote of no-confidence in the rule of law

The last decade in Israel has been marked by a wave of legislation that has dealt a blow to the country’s democratic values, the rule of law, and separation of powers.

IDI experts explain Israel’s immunity law, what happens when it’s requested and what the implications may be for the political system.

After lengthy deliberation, the attorney-general, who holds the statutory authority to file charges against him, decided to indict Netanyahu.

There's an unacceptable, extreme conflict of interest between Netanyahu the accused and Netanyahu, head of the executive branch

Actual policy making in a liberal democracy is based on sophisticated nuances.

This claim was first put forth in a letter from the Knesset’s legal adviser, Eyal Yinon, to the speaker of the Knesset with regard to the situation of MK Haim Katz.

Our level-headed, intelligent, rational prime minister has lost his good judgment and is inciting against some of the most important institutions of state

The rhetoric accompanying the attempts to delegitimize a “minority government” is questionable. The current transitional government is supported only by 55 Knesset members, with 65 opposing it. If any government deserves the moniker ‘minority government,’ it is the one currently in office.

Justice Minister Amir Ohana,has launched a fierce attack against the State Attorney’s Office. The Prime Minister who appointed him would be wise to remember that the angel of history is peeking over his shoulder.

Coalition negotiations continue and Israel does not yet have a government - but one thing is certain - Israeli democracy dodged a bullet.

Like all democracies, the principle of the "Rule of Law" exits in Israel. In recent years, there have been quite a few attempts to overcome this tenant, potentially causing long-lasting damage to public confidence in the justice system. Dr. Fuchs explains.

The recent wave of populism forces us to sharpen our understanding of the literal meaning of 'democracy' and 'the rule of the people' as well as the accepted definition of liberal democracy

It turns out that voters actually want robust judicial oversight - which explains why the Override Clause and placing limitations on judicial review have not been prominant in the election campaign

On claims that the High Court ties the security establishment's hands, Dr. Amir Fuchs says "the truth is that when authoritative figures from the defense establishment appear before the court to support some important security requirement, the court almost always adopts their argument".

The Israel Democracy Institute offers a look inside efforts to reduce politicization of Israel's Supreme Court.

"Israel and other Western Democracies must carefully consider the negative ramifications of excelling in technology while disregarding moral and ethical questions." Read Dr. Tehilla Shwartz Altshuler's latest in Techcrunch

A year has passed since, The Basic Law: Israel the Nation-State of the Jewish People, was passed. What, if anything, has changed in that time?

The public - your employer - has the right to know how often you skip the Knesset plenum or travel abroad. Election date is getting closer and there is no better time than now, to give some thought to the public’s right to information

Israel’s judiciary is under assault, according to some, or experiencing a necessary corrective to rampant judicial activism, according to others. Dr. Amir Fuchs, legal expert and the head of the Defending Democratic Values project at the Israel Democracy Institute, walks through the Knesset’s attempt to change the judiciary and the balance of powers in Israel, what’s behind it, and what it means for the country.

One of the main explanations for the dramatic decline in voter turnout in the Arab Israeli sector in the last elections (49%, versus 63% in the 2015 elections) is the sense that the voice of Israeli Arabs — is a voice that doesn’t count.

Granting the government additional power, which will enable overriding Basic Laws in simple legislation must not be allowed, lest the defense of basic civil rights in Israel are compromised

The proposal promotes personal and political interests, strikes a severe blow to the public’s trust in democracy and to elected officials’ obligation to act with integrity

An opinion submitted today (June 26th) to MKs, the Attorney General, and the Knesset Legal Advisor on behalf of the Israel Democracy Institute, opposes the proposal to repeal the law to dissolve the Knesset and seeks to take the proposal off the agenda.

The bizarre constitutional situation in which we now find ourselves raises a great many legal questions, not all of which have simple answers. Does the law allow the prime minister to fire all the government’s ministers? Can he serve as “the government” by himself?

The story of liberal democracies in the late 20th and early 21st centuries has been, to a large extent, the story of protecting personal liberties by independent democratic institutions.

IDI’s President Yohanan Plesner and Canadian jurist Irwin Cotler on the challenges facing Israeli democracy in the months ahead.

The Conscription Law and the repeated crises it has generated, are a classic example of the Israeli political system’s inability to deal with the country’s fundamental problems

Populism means different things to different people – and political populism has an even more sinister meaning

“The future coalition aspires to replace the current “judicialization of Israeli life” with the “politicization of Israel law”, says Yedidia Stern

The conservatives who think the court is moved by a malicious intent to stamp out politics are mistaken. Our High Court of Justice is squeaky clean, and of the highest possible caliber

In Israel the proposed Immunity Law is central to coalition negotiations - yet around the globe there is a gradual but significant process of reducing the scope of procedural immunity. See how Israel compares with democracies around the world

The Override Clause would not alter the balance between the branches of government – it would shift the balance of power between the government and the governed

Government transparency means responsibility and accountability – core values that should be independent of political agenda

The current proposal conveys a harsh message of contempt for the rule of law and is in sharp contrast to the current trend in democratic countries

Laws define the legal rules of our democracy and ensure the stability of the political system while guaranteeing individual rights and general public interest - enactment of the Override Clause would seriously undermine this balance.

Instead of training rhetorical cannons on the court, which is doing its job in a chaotic situation, the legislature should delete Section 7A from the Basic Law. Let everyone run for the Knesset, and let those who violate criminal laws bear the consequences of their actions

Dr. Amir Fuchs looks at how far removed today’s Likud is from the Likud of yesteryear, both in terms of personalities and ideologies

Will Israel's democratic institutions prove resilient? How is the party system changing and is Israel headed for a tyranny of the majority? Yohanan Plesner, President of the Israel Democracy Institute, examines the ramifications of the unprecedented indictment of an incumbent Prime Minister in Israel


The major parties have been turning a blind eye to women politicians, and their campaigns are the worse for it

While the final decision about an indictment will not be made until after a hearing, with the publication of the draft indictment, the Prime Minister must decide whether he will launch a public campaign under the reverse heading: “Benjamin Netanyahu vs. the State of Israel"

These elections provide us with an opportunity to raise our voices on the need to regulate the parties’ conduct so that they operate transparently and are accountable to the public

The report and its conclusions, regardless of whether or not they will be acceptable to the State of Israel, once again highlight the importance of the rule of law, and bring to the fore the need for in-depth investigations of events which might be construed as in violation of international law

In an op-ed published in the Washington Post, Yohanan Plesner assures readers that, "Supporters of Israel's democracy at home and abroad should know that so far the checks and balances built into our young democracy are holding up in the face of serious pressures."

Yohanan Plesner, President of the Israel Democracy Institute, and Prof. Yuval Shany, Vice President of Research "No democracy can tolerate public corruption or any exception to the principle of equality before the law."

The fourth in a series of articles and videos prepared by the Israel Democracy Institute in the run-up to April 9, explaining and critiquing what goes on during an election period

Such a code will not only prevent corruption, but in addition will prevent serious damage to the government’s image and attacks on law enforcement


How are judges appointed in Israel? Who sits on the committee? And why is it so important to maintain the balance between judicial independence and democratic accountability in the appointing process? Tune in to learn more with Dr. Guy Lurie

The 20th Knesset was the most injurious of all with regard to democratic values, freedom of expression, gatekeeping and, above all, minority rights. In the next government we can only hope that someone will champion liberal center-right values to continue to protect our democracy. 

One fact is clear: the moment the attorney-general announces his decision, half of the public will reject it, to the point of accusing him of serving political interests and not really seeking the truth.

The truth is that the bill was designed to castrate expression and creativity, and induce self-censorship by artists and cultural institutions.

A modern nation of laws isn’t supposed to act based on revenge. Its legal system is founded on decency, justice and equality, not primitive concepts like hatred.

How despicable is a mob that calls for non-partisanship but is unwilling to listen to a voice that speaks for a majority of Israelis today?

Israel at 70 is still a thriving democracy, but current concerns are justified, says Alona Vinograd in an interview to Fathom.

"While Israeli national politics get most of the coverage, it is the local level that in many cases has the greatest impact on Israeli lives." Read Yohanan Plesner's op-ed on the upcoming municipal elections and why electoral reform is required, both on the local and national level.

"How good it is that there are judges in Jerusalem, including the Magistrate’s Court, whose insight has not deserted them, despite the demands on them by the government to function as automatons in the service of brutality."


Now is the time to rise above petty politics and pass a draft law that will uphold the principle of civic equality in Israel.


In the bill’s final wording, the state only commits itself to act within the Diaspora to strengthen the ties of Jewish peoplehood – as if actions taken inside the Jewish state, like the reneged-upon Western Wall compromise, have no bearing on the rest of the Jewish world.

The Israel Democracy Institute applauds Prime Minister Netanyahu’s decision to reevaluate the Facebook Law which was initially formulated to help fight terrorism, but evolved into a draconian law that could set back the Start-Up Nation decades in terms of freedom of speech.

A Basic Law that seeks to define the character of the state but does not anchor the principle of civic equality has no place in the law book of any democracy.

What message of Tisha B’Av is relevant for life in a sovereign state like Israel? Does the American recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel make the day of mourning for “the city that is in mourning, laid waste, despised and desolate” an anachronism?


How can Israel - a light to the nations, and homeland for the Jewish People, fail to embrace equality for all, alongside commitment to the diaspora?

The Israel Democracy Institute issued a letter to the Prime Minister regarding the Nation State Billl, asserting that if the value of equality is not anchored in the legislation alongside the other enumerated national characteristics of the state, the law may eventually erode Israel's democratic character

The Lod district court decision illustrates the possible dangers to criminal defendant’s human rights though the expanding defense of necessity and the lack of separation between the preventive and criminal phases of the investigation.

Yohanan Plesner discusses with Tipping Point the "People's Army". Can a compromise be reached and is "sharing the burden" of military service a realistic goal? 

Government-sponsored legislation proposing to change how ministry legal advisors are appointed has stirred up quite a storm. The idea should worry all of us, not only jurists.

The Israel Democracy Institute ahead of the Knesset Constitution Committee debate on political appointments of legal advisers in government ministries: "A blow to the civil service ethos; an opening for potential corruption, forsakes public interest".

The good news is that despite the unprecedented offensive which aims at dealing a significant blow to the Supreme Court, the majority of the Israelis still have trust in this institution. In fact, the levels of trust in the court are much greater than those of the Knesset and the Government

Judiciary activism is neither easily defined nor easily measured. That said, it is important to clarify: Israel’s Supreme Court strikes down relatively few laws as compared with courts in other countries

 The proposed amendment which will strip the Supreme Court of the power to invalidate legislation (“the British model”), or alternatively, would allow the Knesset, by a vote of 61 of its members to reinstate a law that the court has struck down (“the override clause”) pose a grave threat to every single Israeli citizen. 


The Democracy Pavilion, a unique multi-media experience, in full 360 degree technology, showcasing the values embedded in Israel’s Declaration of Independence, is open to the public.

Beyond the important political, humanitarian and moral issues raised by the “Great Return March” and the IDF’s response, complicated legal issues also present themselves. 

“The campaign to remake the Supreme Court has been completed” said Justice Minister Shaked - so now with its new and more conservative profile, there is no longer any justification for the delegitimization of the Supreme Court.


In a letter to the Members of Knesset, IDI's management clarifies that the ultra-Orthodox proposed legislation will influence budgetary matters such as allocations to Yeshiva students and housing grants, and will  place Israel’s national security in jeopardy



Letter to Members of the Knesset on the proposed Basic Law: Torah Study - "This is an extremist proposal to enshrine the principle of inequality in our law books.Its adoption could undermine the IDF’s model of service and place Israel’s national security in jeopardy"

"The facts revealed yesterday by the police are deeply troubling. Faced with this reality, all those who consider themselves leaders in our community, must come forth and make their position clear, rejecting such conduct forthrightly, lest moral decay spreads through our civil service and public’s trust in the government plummets.”

Deporting people against their will to the countries they escaped from evokes strong and disturbing recollections of dark episodes in Jewish history.

Citizens must lead the way in the battle against political corruption.

Experience and history repeatedly teach us that what was once widely accepted as an irrefutable truth can be revealed to be a total falsehood.

Some 76 years ago, on August 4, Ze'ev Jabotinsky, one of the most prominent Zionist thinkers and leaders, founder and head of the Revisionist movement, Betar youth group and the Irgun paramilitary organization, died prematurely. It is interesting to explore his views on matters related to democracy and liberalism.

Liberal democracy is in crisis everywhere. We in Israel have our share of problems. Our democracy is far from perfect, and it is under massive pressures — both external and internal. But all in all, if we look at the world around us, Israel is doing rather well. This article was originally published by the Atlanta Jewish Times.

In Britain, nationwide referendums are a rare event. This development highlights an issue that many of today's democracies are struggling with: the ongoing tension between direct and representative democracy. Is a national referendum a shining example of the democratic ideal put to practice, or does it represents deterioration to cheap populism?

Research Reel with Amir Fuchs: Defending Democratic Values

One of the most fundamental principles of democratic government is the delicate system of checks and balances that prevents the arbitrary exercise of power by the majority. Israel, the sole democracy in a dangerous and unstable neighborhood, has long been an exemplar of these checks and balances. We cannot allow Israel's democratic foundations to gradually erode. Israel’s survival and prosperity hinge, in the final analysis, on its democratic vitality.

The Knesset is currently considering a proposed amendment, sponsored by the Prime Minister, to Basic Law: The Knesset. It would allow a special majority of 90 Knesset members to suspend an MK for an unlimited period of time. In effect, this would be tantamount to an expulsion, with the suspended parliamentarian replaced by the next person on his or hers party’s candidates list. This article was first published by

Dr. Mordechai Kremnitzer argues that it is time for Israel to examine the Shin Bet security service's regulations, based on the assumption that they apply to all residents of Israel. One law must apply to all suspected perpetrators of terrorist acts — Jews and Arabs alike.

Dr. Amir Fuchs delivers the following message: While Israeli security forces must fight terror using all legal means available to them, Israeli leaders have another and no less important role: to maintain the democratic character of the state. This is especially the case when it comes to equality, minority rights and defending the innocent from acts of revenge and/or lynching.

The Israeli High Court's claim that home demolitions need not be applied to Jews because they support terror less than Palestinians must be rejected. (This article was originally published by Haaretz.)

Dr. Shuki Friedman reminds us that the values that are so deeply rooted in our Jewish worldview, are part and parcel with the democratic values of our state and its outlook on the obligation to preserve life and human dignity using the rule of law.

Eli Bahar says we must not accept this state of affairs as a fait accompli. He reminds that we can change the situation even if it seems that it has almost reached the point of no return.

Tehilla Shwartz Altshuler reminds us that the media is the cement that holds the stones of democracy together. As the arbiter of reality, the purpose of the media is to show us, the citizens, what is going on around us. To the same extent, it is also supposed to reflect our feelings and our level of trust in the decision-makers and representatives whom we elect to govern us.

IDI President Yohanan Plesner says that even after 20 years, the assassination of former Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin remains the Israeli democracy's breaking point. He calls on all peoples and their leaders to develop a joint democratic vision.

Is administrative detention an appropriate response to Jewish terror such as the events in Duma? Dr. Amir Fuchs argues that there is no justification for administrative violations of a person’s freedom except for in concrete emergencies in which criminal law would be impossible to apply.

As World Refugee Day approaches, Dr. Ruvi Ziegler argues that it is high time for Israel to adopt a fair asylum policy that would mitigate the predicament of Eritrean and Sudanese nationals.

On December 8, 2014, just before the Knesset dissolved itself to prepare for early elections, it enacted the Law for Prevention of Infiltration and Ensuring the Departure of Infiltrators from Israel. IDI's Dr. Reuven (Ruvi) Ziegler reviews this development.

In an op-ed in Maariv, IDI Vice President Prof. Mordechai Kremnitzer calls for an election campaign that focuses not only on foreign policy and Israel's social gap, but on the nature of Israeli identity and the value of Israeli democracy itself.

The mayor of Ashkelon's announcement following the massacre in a Har Nof synagogue that Arab workers would not be employed in his city was roundly condemned by members of the Knesset. Dr. Amir Fuchs points to the hypocrisy of these condemnations.

IDI researcher Dr. Amir Fuchs criticizes the proposed Basic Law that would establish Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people and recommends accepting Israel's Declaration of Independence as the preamble to Israel's future Constitution instead.

A summary of a legal opinion on a proposed amendment to Basic Law: The Knesset that was submitted by Prof. Mordechai Kremnitzer and Dr. Amir Fuchs to the Ministerial Committee on Legislative Affairs.

Dr. Amir Fuchs discusses the proposal to add an override clause to Israel's Basic Law: Human Dignity and Freedom that would enable the Knesset to bypass the High Court and deal a a severe blow to the main safeguard of human rights and minorities in Israel.

IDI Researcher Dr. Reuven (Ruvi) Ziegler presents a brief overview of the Israeli High Court of Justice's decision to strike down Amendment No. 4 of the Prevention of Infiltration Law, and explores several themes that may be of comparative constitutional interest. 

Dr. Amir Fuchs discusses the Israeli High Court of Justice's decision to uphold the "Admissions Committees Law," which allows small communities to reject applicants due to a lack of social suitability. 

IDI Vice President Prof. Mordechai Kremnitzer addresses the question of the appropriateness of the letter that Givati Brigade commander Col.Ofer Winter sent to his subordinate officers as Israel prepared for the ground incursion in Gaza in the summer of 2014.

IDI Vice President Prof. Mordechai Kremnitzer discusses the High Court of Justice's decision to uphold the Israel Broadcasting Authority's rejection of an infomercial in which the names of Gazan children who were killed in Operation Protective Edge would have been read aloud. 

IDI researcher Assaf Shapira provides background information on the decision of the Knesset Ethics Committee to suspend MK Hanin Zoabi for statements she made about the kidnapping and murder of three Jewish teenagers and about Operation Protective Edge.

Prof. Mordechai Kremnitzer and Admiral Ami Ayalon argue that while the heart has difficulty defending MK Hanin Zoabi's freedom of expression, the head demands that we object to the decision to remove her from parliamentary activity for six months.

Attorney Amir Fuchs asserts that educating Israeli students regarding democracy and civics from a young age and throughout their education is the best way to prevent hatred, violence, and racism.

Attorney Amir Fuchs argues that the proposed legislation that would exempt first-time home-buyers from value added tax (VAT) violates the principle of equality for people who do not serve the State of Israel. 

In an article in <em>The Times of Israel</em>, Attorney Amir Fuchs argues that legislation that would give judges the authority to sentence murderers to life in prison with no possibility of pardon is misguided and will not prevent terrorists from being released in future prisoner exchanges.

Prof. Mordechai Kremnitzer and Attorney Amir Fuchs assert that the only way to guarantee Israel's existence as a Jewish and democratic state is not through a Basic Law that defining Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people but through a Constitution. 

A legal opinion opposing the proposed Basic Law: Israel as the Nation State of the Jewish People, which was submitted by IDI Vice President Prof. Mordechai Kremnitzer and Attorney Amir Fuchs to the Ministerial Committee on Legislation on June 4, 2014.

On June 4, 2014, IDI experts Prof. Mordechai Kremnitzer and Attorney Amir Fuchs submitted a legal opinion to the Ministerial Committee on Legislation stating their concerns about the proposed Basic Law: Israel as the Nation State of the Jewish People. A full translation of this legal opinion can be found below.

In an op-ed in <em>Haaretz</em> published after Ehud Olmert was sentenced to six years in prison, Prof. Mordechai Kremnitzer explores the implications of the Holyland case for the battle against corruption in Israel.

IDI researcher Dr. Reuven (Ruvi) Ziegler explains why he believes the Supreme Court should overturn Amendment No. 4 of the Prevention of Infiltration Act just as it invalidated its predecessor.

Prof. Mordechai Kremnitzer explains the importance of the fifth meeting of IDI's Police and Society Forum, which was dedicated to the question of partnership and transparency in the relationship between the Israel Police and Arab society.

In an op-ed in The Jerusalem Post, IDI Vice President Prof. Mordechai Kremnitzer analyzes Jonathan Pollard's life sentence and calls on President Obama to put an end to Pollard's incarceration In the name of the shared commitment to justice.

In an article in <em>Haaretz</em>, attorney Amir Fuchs explains why he believes the release of convicted terrorists as part of prisoner release deals or  as part of diplomatic negotiations degrades Israel's criminal justice system.

IDI Researcher Attorney Amir Fuchs discusses two indirect threats to human rights in Israel: attacks on the Israeli Supreme Court and attacks against Israeli human rights organizations.

IDI Vice President of Research Prof. Mordechai Kremnitzer responds to the possibility that the police will use administrative detention to combat organized crime, much in the manner as it is used to combat terrorism. 

Prof. Mordechai Kremnitzer and Att. Talya Steiner warn that the veteran's benefit bill, which is intended to extend benefits to those who have contributed to the State, discriminates against Israel's Arab citizens, who are exempt from military service in Israel.

In an op-ed in Haaretz, Attorney Amir Fuchs asserts that Israel is both the nation-state of the Jewish people and a democratic state, despite the confused Zionism of Mayor Shimon Gapso of Upper Nazareth.

In an op-ed in <em>Haaretz</em>, IDI researcher Attorney Amir Fuchs asserts that Israel is both the nation-state of the Jewish people and a democratic state, despite the confused Zionism of Mayor Shimon Gapso of Upper Nazareth.

Should the State always present its position in a unified voice or should state institutions with specific expertise sometimes be allowed to present their views separately? Prof. Mordechai Kremnitzer and Attorney Talya Steiner address this question In an op-ed in Haaretz.

In an op-ed in Haaretz, IDI researcher Attorney Amir Fuchs shares his thoughts on the proposed "NGO bill," which would limit donations to human rights organizations in Israel.

In an op-ed in Haaretz, IDI Researcher Attorney Amir Fuchs warns that the proposed Basic Law: Israel as the Nation State of the Jewish People is not only anti-democratic but also undermines the foundations of Zionism.

Prof. Mordechai Kremnitzer and Attorney Talya Steiner warn that the proposed veterans benefits bill, which would give preferential treatment in employment, higher education, and housing to those who have served in the Israeli army, gives license to discriminate against Israel's Arab minority.

In an op-ed in Maariv, IDI Vice President Mordechai Kremnitzer and Attorney Amir Fuchs warn that the proposed amendment to Israel's Anti-Defamation Law known as the  'Jenin-Jenin Law' will have the opposite of its intended effect.

In an op-ed in <em>Maariv</em>, IDI Vice President Mordechai Kremnitzer and Attorney Amir Fuchs warn that the proposed amendment to Israel's Anti-Defamation Law, which would allow IDF soldiers to bring a class action suit for libel when the operational activities in which they participated are criticized in the media, will have the opposite of its intended effect.

IDI researcher Attorney Amir Fuchs welcomes the "Blue and White Human Rights" initiative of the Institute for Jewish Strategies, stressing that the fight for human rights in Israel should not be seen as limited to the political Left.

In an op-ed originally published in Maariv, Prof. Mordechai Kremnitzer and Attorney Amir Fuchs warn that the Basic Law: Israel as the Nation State of the Jewish People would undercut the balance between the "Jewish" and "democratic" nature of the State of Israel.

In honor of Israel's 65th birthday, Attorney Amir Fuchs reflects on whether the reality of today's Israel adheres to the values and vision of early Zionist leader Ze'ev Jabotinsky.

IDI's Prof. Mordechai Kremnitzer critiques various aspects of the proposals for integrating the ultra-Orthodox into the army and calls on the Israeli public to stand firm on its demand for an arrangement that is fair and equitable.

In an op-ed in Haaretz, IDI Researcher Attorney Amir Fuchs asserts that as Justice Minister, Tzipi Livni will have to restore confidence between the judicial system and political system and will have to serve as the representative of the judicial system to politicians.

On the occasion of International Migrants Day and an IDI roundtable on Israeli immigration policy, IDI researcher Adv. Reuven (Ruvi) Ziegler provides an overview of the treatment of African asylum seekers who have crossed into Israel via its southern border.

On December 4, 2012, the Israeli Supreme Court heard a petition arguing that the “Admissions Committee Law” is discriminatory and unconstitutional. Attorney Amir Fuchs explains why he sees this law as an insult to Israel's democracy.

IDI Vice President Mordechai Kremnitzer and Doron Navot, author of Political Corruption in Israel, discuss whether politicians convicted of crimes involving moral turpitude should be allowed to return to the Knesset.

In an op-ed published in Haaretz, IDI Vice President Mordechai Kremnitzer and researcher Attorney Amir Fuchs point out that despite the assault on democratic values witnessed in the outgoing Knesset, "democracy" does not seem to be on the agenda in the current election campaign.

Israeli politicians deemed the attack of a group of Arab teens by a group of Jewish teens to be the act of "bad apples" who don't represent the norm. In the following op-ed, however, IDI researcher Attorney Amir Fuchs warns that the radicalization of Israeli youth is the fruit of a poisonous tree being cultivated in the Knesset itself.

Attorney Amir Fuchs responds to Research Fellow Yair Sheleg's article "Appropriate and Inappropriate Evacuation," and takes exception to some of the arguments that it raised regarding the evacuation of settlements in Judea and Samaria on the basis of property rights.

IDI Vice President Prof. Mordechai Kremnitzer and Adv. Amir Fuchs analyze the proposed legislation that would allow the Knesset to reinstate laws that have been struck down by the Israeli High Court and warn of a threat to judicial review and civil liberties.

Although some in Israel hold nationalism and liberalism to be mutually exclusive, former Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin was both a proud nationalist and an unwavering guardian of liberal principles. As the Jewish world commemorates the 20th anniversary of Begin's death, IDI is pleased to present "Menachem Begin on Democracy and Constitutional Values," a booklet by IDI Vice President Prof. Mordechai Kremnitzer and Attorney Amir Fuchs, which was originally published in Hebrew on the eve of Yom Kippur, 2011.

Prof. Mordechai Kremnitzer and Attorney Amir Fuchs explain why they see the "Bar Association Bill" as undermining the rule of law. This bill would change the way that the Bar Association's representatives to the Judicial Appointments Committee are selected, and would apply retroactively.

History teaches that adopting a constitution is usually possible only at the point at which a state is first established; if that opportunity is missed, it is only at a time of real crisis that it is politically feasible to set new rules of the game. In an op-ed in <em>Haaretz</em>, IDI Vice President of Research Prof. Mordechai Kremnitzer and Attorney Amir Fuchs assert that such a moment has come.

The “Nakba Bill” would impose financial sanctions on institutions that commemorate Israel’s Independence Day as a day of mourning. In this op-ed from the Ynet website, IDI’s Prof. Mordechai Kremnitzer and Adv. Amir Fuchs warned that while observing Israel’s Independence Day as a day of mourning by citizens of the State of Israel is “a galling, unpleasant, and defiant act,” the test of a true democracy is whether it is able to allow such expressions of freedom of speech.

In this article, IDI Researcher Adv. Reuven (Ruvi) Ziegler surveys Israel's regulations regarding refugees and asylum seekers and points to three areas—eligibility for asylum, the rights of asylum seekers, and detention—in which they are incompatible with the UN refugee convention.

In an op-ed from <em>Haaretz</em>, IDI Vice President of Research Prof. Mordechai Kremnitzer and Researcher Adv. Amir Fuchs assert that Prime Minister Netanyahu was right to condemn a letter by rabbis forbidding the rental of property in Israel to Arabs, and call on him to prevent the passage of a bill that would allow small Jewish communities to exclude Arabs from living in their midst.

Prof. Mordechai Kremnitzer and Roy Konfino respond to a bill that in practice exempts the State of Israel from compensating Palestinians who live in the occupied territories for any damages the State may have caused them as part of the war on terror.