Tendentious interpretations of international law are not surprising considering the high emotions surrounding the long and bloody Israeli-Palestinian conflict. However, to serve its purpose guiding the conduct of States and retain a high degree of legitimacy, international law must serve as a common legal language.
Downgrading the independence of government legal advisers is not among the highest-profile proposals to reform the Israeli legal system being advanced by Israel’s new right-wing government, but weakening the status of government legal advisers is actually an important and troubling part of the government’s package of proposed reforms.
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 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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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”
Despite the verdict, the real story in the Azaria affair is the moral, not the legal, issue, and this debate is alive and well.