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What the Battle Over Judicial Reform in Israel Is Really About | Opinion


Caroline Glick
Newsweek, Mar. 2, 2023

“The Netanyahu government’s program for judicial reform is astounding for its modesty. If passed in full, it will simply realign Israel’s currently unchecked judiciary with the checked judiciaries of the vast majority of Western democracies.”
 
In Israel as in states throughout the Western world, the political Left is an ecosystem of power, and not merely a political camp. It starts with the parties of the center- and far-Left. But it encompasses far more powerful institutions and actors, as well. These include the universities, the vast majority of media organs, most of the entertainment industry, and much of the economic elite. The Left also comprises the senior ranks of the security establishment—represented most clearly by politically active retired generals.

The most powerful component of the Left’s ecosystem in Israel is the legal fraternity, which is comprised of the Supreme Court, the attorney general, the state prosecution, and the legal advisors to the Knesset and the government ministries.

Despite its control over vast power sources in Israeli society, the Left does not control the Israeli people themselves. A significant majority of Israelis define themselves as right-of-center. In the last elections, right-of-center parties won 64 seats in Israel’s 120-seat parliament, the Knesset. The Left’s parties won a mere 46 seats. The other 10 seats went to two anti-Zionist Arab parties, which are supported by, but are not constituent parts of, the leftist ecosystem.

For the first three decades after Israel won independence in 1948, the Left held all levers of political power. The Labor Party controlled the government and the Knesset. And its loyalists controlled the Left’s nonpolitical ecosystem. When, under Menachem Begin, the Right won its first electoral victory in 1977, Begin disappointed his loyalists and opted not to replace Labor’s apparatchiks in the public sector, the Israel Defense Forces, the legal system, and state media with his own. Begin’s refusal to bring in his own people was a source of rancor, but when viewed in its historical context, his decision had its merits. Labor’s apparatchiks were old-left socialists, ideologically, but they were experienced in the ways of governance and they were patriots. True, they despised Begin, but they loved Israel. Leaving them secure in their positions may have made them political thorns in Begin’s side, but it didn’t harm the national interest.

… [To read the full article, click here]

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