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Articles

Op-ed

Between ‘Voluntary’ Departure to an Undisclosed Third State and Indefinite Detention

Israel refuses to officially disclose the identity of the states to which relocation takes place.

Op-ed

A Matter of Definition: On ‘Infiltrators’ and ‘Asylum Seekers’ in Israel

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.

Op-ed

The Prevention of Infiltration Act (Amendment No. 4): A Malevolent Response to the Israeli Supreme Court Judgment

Article

The New Amendment to the ‘Prevention of Infiltration’ Act: Defining Asylum-Seekers as Criminals

On January 10, 2012 an amendment to the Prevention of Infiltration Act passed its second and third reading in the Knesset. In passing this act, the government—and the Knesset—chose to walk down a path that is incompatible with the protection of human freedom that is embedded in Israeli constitutional law and that is incompatible with Israel’s obligations under international refugee conventions. Below is a condensed version of an article on this matter that was written by Adv. Reuven (Ruvi) Ziegler for the IDI Hebrew website.

Op-ed

Trapped between the Fences

IDI researcher Attorney Reuven (Ruvi) Ziegler argues that the response of the Israeli government to the plight of 20 Eritrean asylum seekers trapped between the fences of the Israeli-Egyptian border tests Israel's adherence to rulings of its own Supreme Court.

Article

The Palestinian Authority and the International Criminal Court

A discussion of the Palestinian Authority's declarations to the International Criminal Court (ICC), the changes that influenced the ICC prosecutor's decision to accept the PA's second declaration, and the conditions that must be fulfilled in order for the ICC to apply its jurisdiction to IDF actions or to the settlement enterprise.

Article

The end of the delegitimization of the Supreme Court

“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.

Press Release

A Democracy in Flux

President Reuven Rivlin, Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked,Leader of the Israeli Labor Party Avi Gabbai and State Prosecutor Shai Nitzan relate to tensions surrounding the prime minister's investigations and the coalition crisis at a special conference held last night with Makor Rishon

Article

Israel's Alt-Right is Now Mainstream - Are Lawmakers Doing Enough to Stop It?

27 years after Kahane’s murder, Jewish extremists praise the rabbi, calling him a righteous prophet whose politics were ahead of his time. Like Kahane, Gopstein’s ultimate dream is an Israel that operates according to Jewish law, or Halacha, where the only Arabs who live there are those loyal to a Jewish theocracy. “At this rate,” he says of Palestinian citizens of Israel, “it’s either us or them”

Article

Government Ministers to Vote on Bill to Override Supreme Court Decisions

The Prime Minister is currently fighting to remove the Supreme Court's power to strike down Knesset legislation, thereby turning the last protector of human rights in Israel into merely an advisory board. He is even threatening elections over the issue. 

 

Press Release

On Political Appointments of Legal Advisers in Government Ministries

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".

Op-ed

Britain's Referendum: Democracy at its Finest or Crass Populism?

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?

Article

The Legal Challenges Concerning the Removal of Asylum-Seekers from Israel to Third States

Op-ed

Override: A Serious Blow to Democracy

Dr. Amir Fuchs argues that an override of Supreme Court decisions should be stoutly resisted by democrats from all parts of the political spectrum.

Article

Investigating Allegations of Violations of the Laws of War by the IDF during Operation Protective Edge: The Alternatives Available to Israel

How should suspected violations of the international laws of war be investigated? As Operation Protective Edge winds down, Prof. Yuval Shany and Prof. Amichai Cohen discuss the options of an internal investigation by the IDF, an international investigation, and an Israeli commission of inquiry.

Op-ed

Privatization of Prisons: The Path to a Corporate Regime

 Effi Michaeli, warns against the full privatization of prisons and argues that such a decision represents a breach of boundaries that can transform Israel into a corporate regime.

Article

In Israel, Rescuing Government from Itself

Dr. Arye Carmon, co-founder and president of the Israel Democracy Institute (IDI), discusses how the lack of a constitution is an internal existential threat to Israel. Dr. Carmon's approach is inclusive and integrative, including such remedies as one-ballot elections and a Constitution by Consensus.

Op-ed

Are Convicts Fit for Political Office?

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.

Op-ed

Appropriate and Inappropriate Evacuation

IDI Senior Researcher Yair Sheleg shares his thoughts on the differences between the evacuation of Yamit and the Sinai Peninsula in the past, and the upcoming evacuations of Migron and the Ulpana neighborhood of Beit El.

Op-ed

A Privately Run Prison: Worthy Addition to Israel's Correction System

In this article, the former Director-General of Israel's Ministry of Public Security debunks the case against the proposed privatization of prisons in Israel. In his opinion, operating a prison under private management is an experiment that can actually improve prison conditions and support prisoners' rights.

Op-ed

A Boycott on Both Your Houses

Is the boycott of the town of Ariel, which is located over the Green Line, by Israeli performing artists legitimate? In this op-ed from Yedioth Ahronoth, IDI Vice President Yedidia Z. Stern warns that this type of organized opposition to democratic decisions endangers the delicate fabric of Israeli life.

Op-ed

Should Israel Celebrate the International Day of Democracy?

Article

Remembering Rabin: Attitudes toward Political Violence in Israel 2013

How do Israelis feel about political violence today, 18 years after the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin? As Israel commemorates Rabin Memorial Day, consider the following findings of the 2013 Israeli Democracy Index.

Op-ed

Two Surprising Lessons of the Six-Day War

Basics such as bread and cooking oil began to disappear from the shelves. The Egyptian street boiled with anger. And the foundations of the regime began to shake.

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Op-ed

How Israel’s Leadership Betrayed Democracy

Despite the verdict, the real story in the Azaria affair is the moral, not the legal, issue, and this debate is alive and well.

Op-ed

The Attack on Legal Oversight Threatens Us All

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.

Op-ed

A Misconstrued Perception of Who the "Bad Guys" Are

Behavioral ethics, a growing area within psychology and management literature, demonstrates that an individual’s unethical behavior is demonstrated through self-deception.

Article

Could Profiling Prevent Another Orlando Shooting?

Often missed in the civil liberties debate over profiling is evidence that shows it is not effective. But proponents point to Israel, whose airport screening has kept it free of attacks since 1972.

Op-ed

MK Suspension Bill: Anti-Democratic to the Core

Last week, the Knesset Law, Constitution and Justice Committee began deliberating over a proposal that would fundamentally alter the Basic Law – The Knesset: The MK Suspension Bill. If passed, the proposed bill would grant members of Knesset the power to remove another parliamentarian. This op-ed originally appeared in the Jerusalem Post.

Op-ed

New Partners in the Struggle Against Terrorism

Yohanan Plesner argues that as Denmark grieves for a terror attack on its soil, Israeli leaders must broadcast "a message of partnership among democracies battling terrorism without sacrificing their democratic values."

Article

ISIS: Is the Islamic State Really a State?

What criteria must the caliphate of the Islamic State meet in order to be considered a State under international law? This article presents an analysis of this question by IDI experts on terrorism and democracy.

Op-ed

Dismantling Sectarian Cities of Refuge

In an op-ed in Yedioth Aharonoth, IDI Vice President of Research Prof. Yedidia Z. Stern calls on the leaders of each "tribe"—Russian, ultra-Orthodox, settler, and upper class— to take action to eradicate the negative behavior stereotypically associated with their camp.

Policy Statement

Operation Protective Edge and International Law

As Operation Protective Edge enters its second week, IDI experts outline the legal basic concepts involved in asymmetrical warfare and the boundaries of permissible action according to standard interpretations of existing international law.

Op-ed

The "Anti-Pardon" Bill: Laws are not a Substitute for a Backbone

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.

Op-ed

Thoughts on the Use of a Gag Order Following the Kidnapping

As Israel prays for the safe return of Gilad Shaar, Naftali Fraenkel, and Eyal Yifrach, Dr. Tehilla Shwartz Altshuler, head of IDI's Media Reform project, shares thoughts on the use of gag orders and military censorship in the digital age.

Op-ed

Abolish the Presidency? Certainly Not This Way

Dr. Ofer Kenig responds to the initiative to abolish the presidency and emphasizes that such decisions require due consideration and cannot be taken as part of a capricious move that tramples on the democratic rules of the game.

Article

At the Starting Line: The Israeli Presidential Race Begins

Is Prof. Dan Shechtman, who formally announced his candidacy for the 2014 presidential race in Israel, any different than traditional candidates for the position? IDI researcher Dr. Ofer Kenig surveys the characteristics of Israel's past presidents and presidential candidates. 

Op-ed

Israeli Public Opinion on the President and the Presidential Elections

As the elections for the tenth President of Israel near, IDI researcher Ella Heller of the Guttman Center for Surveys presents an analysis of Israeli public opinion regarding the desired professional background for the next president of Israel, and how the elections should be conducted.

Op-ed

The Presidency: The “Additional Soul” of Israeli Democracy

Former Speaker of the Knesset MK Reuven (Ruby) Rivlin shares his views on the importance of the institution of the Israeli presidency, as part of an exclusive IDI series of articles by the presidential candidates of 2014.

Op-ed

The Holyland Sentencing and the Fight against Government Corruption

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.

Op-ed

The Holyland Sentencing: A Faithful City?

In an article in <em>Makor Rishon</em>, Prof. Yedidia Stern describes his feelings of sadness, pride, apprehension, and hope upon the sentencing of Ehud Olmert to prison for his role in the Holyland affair.

Op-ed

The Presidency in Israel as a Unique Challenge

An article by Nobel Prize laureate Prof. Dan Shechtman, which was written as part of an IDI project in which the candidates for President of Israel share their views on the presidency and discuss what they would bring to the job.

Op-ed

A Socially-Oriented President

MK Meir Sheetrit presents his views on the institution of the Israeli president and describes what he would bring to the job, in the first of a series of articles by the presidential candidates of 2014. 

Op-ed

Does Israel Need a Police Prosecution Department?

In an op-ed in <em>Haaretz</em>, IDI Vice President Prof. Mordechai Kremnitzer and Dr. Guy Lurie call for reform that will abolish the Police Prosecution Department, leaving the Police to investigate and the Public Prosecution to bring criminal charges.

Op-ed

A Truly Supreme Court

In an op-ed in TheMarker, IDI Vice President Prof. Mordechai Kremnitzer and Dr. Guy Lurie discuss the benefits of establishing a new appellate court between the district courts and the Supreme Court.

Op-ed

The Case of Jonathan Pollard: A Legal Analysis

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.

Article

Do You Have to Earn Dignity?

Is dignity something that must be earned? Prof. Tamar Hermann, Head of IDI's Guttman Center for Surveys, explores this question, as IDI's Israel Speaks project assembles 200 citizens to begin drafting a Declaration of Human Dignity.

Op-ed

Releasing Terrorists: An Insult to the Criminal Justice System

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.

Op-ed

Organized Criminals Today, Everyone Else Tomorrow

In an op-ed in Haaretz, Attorney Lina Saba-Habesch warns that extending the use of administrative detention to apply to suspects in cases of organized crime could lead to the use of this extreme method, or of other extreme methods, in combating other forms of crime.

Op-ed

The Referendum Law as a Metaphor

In an op-ed originally published in Haaretz, IDI Former President and Founder Dr. Arye Carmon explains his reservations about the "Referendum Bill" and warns that the concept of referendum is antithetical to the principles of democracy.

Op-ed

Using Administrative Detention to Combat Organized Crime

Aviad Ben Yehuda discusses the problematic nature of the proposal to extend the use of administrative detention in Israel from the war on terror to the war on organized crime.

Op-ed

On the Decline in Voter Participation in Municipal Elections in Israel

Why is voter participation in local elections in Israel so low? Assaf Shapira explains the reasons behind this phenomenon, discusses its implications, and offers possible remedies.

Article

Choosing between the Law and Torah

Is the tension over the arrests of Rabbis Dov Lior and Ya’acov Yosef a precursor to an inevitable collision between Halakha and the judiciary? IDI Vice President of Research Prof. Yedidia Stern shared his views on this question with Jonah Mandel of The Jerusalem Post.

Asylum Seekers in Israel: A Snapshot

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.

Policy Statement

A Professional Assessment of the Governance Bills

A professional assessment of proposed changes to Basic Law: The Government and the Election Bill, which was submitted by Prof. Gideon Rahat to MK David Rotem, Chairman of the Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice Committee.

Article

Happy Birthday, Knesset!

As the Knesset, Israel’s legislature, marks its birthday, IDI takes the opportunity to consider two aspects about it: its members’ social composition and its relative size.

Article

Pardon Requests in Cases Brought Before Israeli Military Courts: How Do They Work?

Even before the conclusion of the Elor Azaria trial, there were calls for the 'Hebron Shooter' to be pardoned. Under such circumstances, what does a pardon entail and how can an IDF soldier who had been sentenced in a military court of law be granted one?

Article

What Do Parliamentary Aides Think of the Work of Members Of Knesset?

Researchers surveyed aides in 40 Knesset offices. Of those, 92% of aides says they think MKs do not come prepared for Knesset committee meetings and that the Knesset is not succeeding in properly supervising the government (95%).

Op-ed

Civil Service Commissioner: For Country or Government?

The civil service commissioner holds an important public position, and should not be relegated to serving as a rubber stamp for the government.

Press Release

Survey: 56% of Jews Think Most Arab Citizens Support Temple Mount Attack

Monthly Peace Index also finds that 65% of Israelis do not trust Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's handling of the crisis on Temple Mount. 

Op-ed

Adviser or Prosecutor? Israel's Attorney General Can't be Both

IDI Vice President Yedidia Stern asserts that there is a conflict of interest between the Attorney General’s two functions—as State Attorney and State Prosecutor—and the office must be split in two. 

Op-ed

A Red Alert for Israeli Democracy

In the midst of Operation Protective Edge, IDI President Yohanan Plesner warns of the dangers of racism, incitement, and stifling of free speech and asserts that it is essential to internalize a substantive democratic culture. 

Article

The Leading Candidate for President: "I Don't Know"

Two months before the elections for president of Israel, who does the Israeli public see as the most suitable candidate for the job? Find out in this mini-survey from IDI's Guttman Center.

Op-ed

Only a Constitution will Ensure Good Governance in Israel

IDI researcher Attorney Amir Fuchs asserts that the only way for Israel to ensure good governance is by adopting a constitution.

Article

Nothing is Known Yet: Public Opinion on the Israeli Presidential Race

Although the presidential race is heating up, the public does not seem to be particularly interested in it. What do Israeli citizens know about the race? Who is their candidate of choice? Find out in this mini-survey by the Guttman Center for Surveys.

Article

The Israeli Democracy Index: A Periodic Check-Up

Prof. Tamar Hermann, head of IDI's Guttman Center for Surveys, discusses the findings of the 2013 Israeli Democracy Index, which was submitted to President Shimon Peres on October 6, 2013.

Op-ed

Detention of African Asylum Seekers in Israel: Welcome to Round Three

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.

Op-ed

Israeli Democracy Day: Yitzhak Rabin's Legacy for the Future

On the 19th anniversary of the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin, Prof. Yedidia Stern asserts that if the annual memorial day for the late prime minister were to be observed as Israeli Democracy Day, Rabin's legacy for the future would be even greater.

Op-ed

Transparency in Local Authority Budgets

Dr. Tehilla Shwartz Altshuler discusses the challenges to transparency in the budgets of Israel's local authorities, including the need to make budgets accessible, to enable searches within budgets, and to facilitate comparisons between the budgets of different authorities.

Op-ed

On Leadership and Responsibility: The Lessons of the Purim Story

Rabbi Dr. Benny Lau and Shira Ruderman, Israel Director of the Ruderman Family Foundation, share thoughts on the Purim story, leadership, responsibility, and repair of the world.

Op-ed

Building a Shared Society: On the Priorities of the Israel Police

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.

Op-ed

Prof. Mordechai Kremnitzer Speaks Out on Using Administrative Detention in Cases of Organized Crime

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. 

Article

The Israeli Economy: Has the Melting Pot Succeeded?

A study conducted by IDI Senior Fellow Prof. Momi Dahan that reveals that there has been a continuous narrowing of income gaps between Israelis of European-American origins and of Asian-African origins since the 1990s.

Op-ed

The Contributors to the State Bill: Contributing to the Jewish-Arab Divide

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.

Op-ed

Separating the Prosecution from the Police

Most criminal cases in Israel are prosecuted by the Israel Police rather than by the State Prosecutor. Prof. Mordechai Kremnitzer and Dr. Guy Lurie call for a division that would make the Police responsible for investigations and the State Prosecutor responsible for indictments and trials.

Op-ed

On the Need for Civil Unions in Israel

Rabbi Dr. Benjamin (Benny) Lau expresses support for the proposed civil union bill, which would allow couples who do not want to marry in a religious service to form a legally recognized union and be eligible for the benefits and responsibilities associated with marriage.

Op-ed

Regulating Bedouin Settlement: A Disengagement Plan for the Negev

Ronit Levine-Schnur analyzes the Bill to Regulate Bedouin Settlement in the Negev 5773–2013, warns that it seems to be motivated by an exaggerated fear of a Bedouin takeover of the Negev, and offers an alternative approach. 

Op-ed

Quashing Legislation Mandating Lengthy Detention of Asylum-Seekers

Dr. Reuven (Ruvi) Ziegler shares observations on the decision of the Israeli Supreme Court that an amendment of the Prevention of Infiltration Law that mandated lengthy detention of asylum seekers is unconstitutional.

Op-ed

Democracy: The Key Election Issue

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.

Article

Second Strike and You Are (Finally) Out? The Quashing of the Prevention of Infiltration Law (Amendment No. 4)

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. 

Op-ed

The Prevention of Infiltration Act in the Supreme Court: Round Two

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.

Op-ed

Basic Law: Israel as the Nation State of the Jewish People – A Danger to the Zionist Enterprise

In an article in the Hebrew weekly <em>Makor Rishon</em>, Prof. Mordechai Kremnitzer and Attorney Amir Fuchs argue against the current initiative to pass Basic Law: Israel as the Nation State of the Jewish People, which they see as divisive and problematic.

Op-ed

Basic Law: Referendum—Changing the Rules of the Game of Israeli Democracy

Dr. Dana Blander draws on the findings of Israeli public opinion polls and explores some of the ramifications of the new Basic Law: Referendum, a law that establishes a system in which every citizen is entitled to participate in historic decisions on withdrawal from territory.

Op-ed

The IDF and the Ultra-Orthodox

As the Knesset prepares to vote on the "Draft Law" designed to regulate the service of ultra-Orthodox men in the Israel Defense Forces, Dr. Haim Zicherman surveys the current situation within Israel's Haredi community.

Op-ed

The Electoral Threshold: Why the Rush?

In an op-ed in the Jerusalem Post, Dr. Ofer Kenig warns that while there is nothing wrong with a moderate increase in Israel's electoral threshold, increasing it from 2% to 3.25% in a single step is problematic.

Op-ed

International Disabilities Day 2013: Human Rights and Judaism in Action

In honor of International Day for Persons with Disabilities, Rabbi Dr. Benjamin (Benny) Lau updates us on IDI's efforts on behalf of people with disabilities and reveals that people with guide dogs are now allowed to access the Western Wall.

Op-ed

The Haredi Draft: Equality Now?!

On November 21 2013, Prof. Yedidia Z. Stern appeared before the Shaked Committee and argued that criminal sanctions are not recommended for reaching conscription goals. In an op-ed in Makor Rishon, he explains why.

Article

Life Under Two Suns: When Human Rights and Jewish Values Collide

The first in a series of articles by researchers from IDI's Judaism and democracy projects and Human Rights and Judaism project on the complementary but tense relations between Judaism and democratic values.

Op-ed

The Admissions Committees Ruling: A Lack of Ripeness or Refusal to Decide?

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. 

Op-ed

Price Tag Attacks: Racist Crimes

In an article in <em>Haaretz</em>, Attorney Amir Fuchs stresses the need to wage a genuine war against racism, in order to preserve the values of Zionism and safeguard the Jewish and democratic state.