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.
Israel has been in a state of emergency since 1948. But the nature of the threat has changed over-time—from full-scale military invasions to isolated airplane hijackings, from suicide bombings to missile attacks, and most recently, cyber and lone wolf terrorism.
These ever-evolving threats necessitate new responses and strategies.
In an op-ed first published by The Jerusalem Report, Prof. Yedidia Stern says this intifada of knives has left Israel in a twilight zone. It is not a time of war, in which the army is permitted to use arms more freely. But nor is it a time of peace in which any use of arms is seen as most irregular. Sharp differences of opinion between the public and the army could lead to a crisis in public confidence in the military high command. There is a crying need for responsible leadership.
Are home demolitions legal? And are they effective? Both IDF commanders and Israeli Supreme Court judges have raised doubts on the matter. In an op-ed published by The Jerusalem Post, IDI's Tal Mimran says the time has come to reevaluate Israeli policy.
IDI's Prof. Amichai Cohen explains why Israel had to launch a swift and effective investigation into the actions of the solider that shot a neutralized terrorist in Hebron. This article originally appeared on the Times of Israel
The Peace Index has shown us that when it comes to the political situation, the majority of the Israeli Jewish population is in a conceptual fog. On the one hand, the Israeli center and center-left has become growingly frustrated and disillusioned with the option of peace as it was perceived in the early ‘90s. On the other hand, the center and center-right have come to acknowledge that there must be a solution and that this solution could mean some type of splitting of the land, most probably a two-state solution. This article was first published by the Jerusalem Post.
In the aftermath of the Tel-Aviv terror attack, it is becoming increasingly clear that the current round of terror will not end soon. When there are casualties of attacks, not only do security issues arise, but so do medical issues – and these can be equally as complicated. This article originally appeared in Crescent City Jewish News.
Is demolishing terrorists' homes an effective deterrent? Israel Democracy Institute research – based on previous work conducted by the security establishment – has cast a doubt on its value. There was also a research report published in 2005 by a professional committee led by Maj. Gen. (Ret.) Udi Shani, which led to the cessation of house demolitions for three years.
A society that is doomed to live forever by the sword cannot hope to be truly humanist and democratic. Originally published in the Jerusalem Report.
Twenty years have passed since Yigal Amir murdered Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. Both for political reasons and for the sake of national unity, Israeli society has avoided a fundamental and straightforward examination of the background, meaning, and implications of this event. But unity cannot be based on whitewash or false symmetry between left and right. The following is an invitation to conduct the kind of inquiry that is necessary.
Nasreen Hadad Haj-Yahya and Eli Bahar say the biggest difference between the security situations in 2000 and now is the profound lack of understanding between the two sides. This article was first published on the Times of Israel website.
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.
IDI Researcher Attorney Eli Bahar discusses the central role that members of Israel's system of legal counsel play in formulating the rules of what is permissible during warfare in real time, during the fighting, in order to ensure that Israel's citizens will not be ashamed of themselves after the fighting ceases.
In an op-ed in The Jerusalem Post, Prof. Mordechai Kremnitzer and Prof. Yuval Shany discuss the need for measures, laws, and institutions designed to combat the war on terror in order to strike a balance between concern for national security and the need to safeguard democratic values such as human rights and the rule of law.
In her article Adi Mintz argues that while for some the Disengagement in 2005 represented a pinnacle of democracy, she experienced it as a deterioration of democracy. At the center of her argument is what she considers to be Ariel Sharon's referendum-dismissive nature, as she suggests that what took place during the Disengagement was not a "truly democratic struggle for public opinion."
In this op-ed IDI's Amichay Ayalon and Idit Shafran-Gittleman argue that the challenge of combatting terrorism requires security concerns to be weighed against the values of a free society. The prevailing attitude among supporters of Hebron shooter Elor Azaria of allowing the security mantra to trump any other concerns may lead to short-term military success, but will be a moral loss for Israel, both on the home front and in the international sphere. This op-ed originally appeared in Haaretz.
As the IDF's military court handed down its verdict in the case of Elor Azaria, the soldier accused by the military prosecutor of shooting and killing a terrorist who no longer constituted a clear and present danger, it is an appropriate moment to recall the recent experience of another soldier in another army.
In an op-ed soon to be published by the Jerusalem Report, the former head of the Shin Bet security service argues that mutual responsibility is the cornerstone on which the resilience of Israeli society is founded, and is most strongly expressed in the commitment of the government of Israel to do everything possible to secure the release of its captured soldiers.
The state of Israel has also been grappling in recent years with an intense controversy over the service of women in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), which recently came to a boiling point with the amendment of the “Joint Service Order,” which sets out guidelines for women’s military service alongside Orthodox men
Despite the transformation of Israeli society, the IDF’s model of service has not changed. Military service continues to be a rite of passage for young Israelis and the IDF retains its status as the most trusted institution in Israel. Prof. Yuval Shany, Maj.-Gen. (ret.) Orna Barbivai and Prof. Amichai Cohen sit down to discuss the challenges facing the IDF and Israeli society in a changing security environment.
Israel’s supporters, who have the nation’s best interests at heart, should resist the urge to engage in partisan smear campaigns that attempt to tarnish the reputations of patriots who are on the frontlines of the struggle for Israel’s legitimacy as a Jewish and democratic state. We have enough enemies on our borders.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced recently that Israel and Turkey had reached an agreement leading to reconciliation between the two countries – and the Knesset approved the deal. Now the question becomes: will the deal have the impact Israeli soldiers are hoping for? Originally published by the Jerusalem Post.
Prof. Amichai Cohen argues that there is only one good way to prevent prosecution of Israeli soldiers abroad: Israeli authorities must conduct effective, independent, and genuine investigations in cases where there are suspicions of war crimes or other violations. This article was first published by Times of Israel.
As the world considers the threat of a nuclear Iran, Israeli public discourse has focused primarily on whether or not Israel should launch a preemptive strike on Iran's nuclear facilities. But who has the authority to decide whether a military operation should be conducted? In this article, IDI Vice President Prof. Mordechai Kremnitzer and researcher Eyal Tsur explore the strengths and weaknesses of the current division of responsibility regarding this matter, and recommend ways of improving the system.
Ron Huldai, Mayor of Tel Aviv-Yafo Municipality: "The establishment of the Democracy Pavilion is an impressive demonstration of Israeli democracy. Only in a democratic society can freedom and tolerance co-exist. This is what allows the opposing sectors of Israeli society to live side by side." The Democracy Pavilion is located at the start of the Independence Trail in Tel Aviv and is open to the public free of charge.
The upcoming High Holidays are an opportunity to expand our perception beyond our selves and communities. This article was first published by the New York Jewish Week.