On November 5, 2023, Minister of Justice Yariv Levin notified the High Court of Justice that he will convene the Judicial Selection Committee within 15 days. Selecting judges is not possible in such a short time frame, so we will have to wait and see whether this decision leads to the completion of judge appointments to the vacant positions.
Yohanan Plesner, president of IDI and Prof. Yuval Shany, a Senior Fellow at the Center for Democratic Values and Institutions met with reporters to discuss the historic Supreme Court hearing on the repeal of the reasonableness doctrine.
In the second part of this two-part episode, Jack Omer-Jackman speaks to renowned Israeli legal scholar and IDI expert Professor Yuval Shany to discuss the Supreme Court’s upcoming deliberations on the legislation annulling reasonability; the significance of basic laws; the impact of reservists’ protests on Israel’s military preparedness and the role of a citizen army in a democracy.
In the first part of this two-part episode, Jack Omer-Jackman speaks to renowned Israeli legal scholar and IDI expert Professor Yuval Shany to discuss the Supreme Court’s upcoming deliberations on the legislation annulling reasonability; the significance of basic laws; the impact of reservists’ protests on Israel’s military preparedness and the role of a citizen army in a democracy.
Comparing Israel's Supreme Court to America's Supreme Court. 64 Israeli legislators, a slim majority of the Knesset, voted on Monday, July 24, to amend one of Israel's Basic Laws, and in so doing, they took away the Israeli Supreme Court's ability to strike down decisions that it finds "unreasonable in the extreme.
The term "incapacitation" refers to a situation in which a government official is unable to perform their duty. The previous version of the law did not detail what constitutes incapacitation, nor who is authorized to declare incapacitation. The current version is accused of being personal and political.
On Monday, the Knesset voted 64-0 to amend the Basic Law governing Israel’s judiciary and strip the Supreme Court of its power to block government decisions on the basis of the standard of “extreme unreasonableness.” The decision has potentially fateful consequences because of its immediate implications,
The first phase of Israel's judicial overhaul is now law. Huge numbers of people are in the streets, reservists are resigning, the stock market is tanking, and Lawfare Editor-in-Chief Benjamin Wittes assembled an all-star panel to talk about it, including IDI's Prof. Amichai Cohen and Prof. Yuval Shany.
With the Knesset set to hold its final vote on curtailing the “reasonableness standard,” what happens next? What are the implications of removing this type of oversight on governmental decisions, and is there still a possibility for compromise ahead of the vote?
The protest against the government legislation is clearly covered by the protections granted by international law to the right to assembly. The position of the Attorney General of Israel strikes an appropriate balance between exercising the right to demonstrate and protecting competing rights and interests.
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.
Briefing by IDI President Yohanan Plesner Following the Suspension of the Judicial Overhaul.
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.
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.
The Israeli judicial system’s independence and professionalism protect IDF commanders from prosecution in international courts. A close look at the planned judicial overhaul leads to the conclusion that if implemented it would increase the risk to Israeli citizens and make it harder for the country to protect them in the future.
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.
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.
Since 1953, judicial appointments in Israel have been made through a Judicial Selection Committee in which legal professionals—judges and lawyers—are in the majority and politicians in the minority. The new Israeli government’s plans for legal reform turn this system on its head and allow the coalition to fully control appointments to all parts of the judiciary, thus consolidating its dominant position in all three branches of government.
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.
The appointment of conservative judges to the court, and even the enactment of a certain version of the override clause, will not bring about the destruction of the Supreme Court, and will certainly not turn Israel into a totalitarian state. However, the continued attacks on the Court, and the potential passage of the most extreme proposals pose a serious challenge to Israeli democracy.
The debate surrounding the Override Clause should really focus on the disproportionate power of the Knesset and not on the power of the Supreme Court. All other democracies have structural mechanisms that limit the concentration of power in the hands of one institutions - we must create such a mechanism in Israel as well.
Why is the Supreme Court's independence so important to Israeli democracy and what are the proposed reforms attempting to achieve? Listen to a short explanation by Prof. Amichai Cohen, senior fellow at IDI.
Prof. Amichai Cohen, Senior Fellow at IDI, the Center for Security and Democracy, provides an in-depth historical overview of Israel's constitutional crisis and the background to the currently proposed judicial review reforms, particularly, the "override clause".
President Reuven (Ruvi) Rivlin speaking at the Fix It Don't Destroy It Judicial Reform Conference at the Israel Democracy Institute, December 2022.
Prof. Alan Dershowitz in conversation with Dr. Jesse Ferris at IDI’s Judicial Reform Conference 2022.
Why is the override clause at the heart of the forthcoming coalition's agenda and how does this relate to civil rights in Israel? Prof. Suzie Navot, Vice President of the Israel Democracy Institute explains the role of the Supreme Court in Israel's democratic system in just over two minutes.
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.
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.
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
Attorney Yoav Laloum relates how by petitioning the High Court of Justice he was able to stop ethnic separation in ultra-Orthodox educational institutions
Alice Miller describes how the High Court of Justice helped change women’s military service and improve gender equality in the IDF
A special survey conducted by the Guttman Center for Public Opinion and Policy Research at the
Israel Democracy Institute finds: The majority of the Israeli public fears that implementation of the Override Clause by the Knesset will give unlimited power to politicians and lead to an increase in political corruption
Batya Katar describes how she was able to make the state allocate the necessary budget to shield classrooms against rockets through the intervention of the High Court of Justice