Three former supreme court justices from Israel, the United States, and Canada—Dorit Beinisch (Israel), Stephen Breyer (US), and Rosalie Abella (Canada)— assembled at the 92nd Street Y in New York for a timely conversation on the complex legal and political drama unfolding in Israel.
The Israel Democracy Institute congratulates President Isaac Herzog on his extraordinary efforts. While the President’s plan contains some problematic elements, if it were to be adopted in its entirety as a package, we would support it because it safeguards our democracy and bolsters key elements of our constitutional foundations.
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.
The majority of Israelis think that the Supreme Court should retain its ability to strike down legislation that contravenes the country’s Basic Laws – and only 16% said that the Judicial Selection Committee that appoints justices should be politicized by increasing the number of elected officials serving on it.
A small majority agree that the Supreme Court should have the power to overturn laws passed by the Knesset when democratic principles are contradicted, while a high rate of the Israeli public, primarily from the right-wing and ultra-Orthodox, believe that the selection of judges in Israel is based on political considerations.
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.
This article presents the main milestones in the recurring attempts to put a satisfactory arrangement for the deferment of military service for yeshiva students in place. In doing so, it surfaces the changes that have occurred over time in the constitutional, legal, and public responses and attitudes on this issue.
On the Unlawful Combatants Law 2002