Muting the clarion call of democracy
Regarding your March 2 editorial “Israel’s Judicial Reform Showdown,” I believe that these reforms in their present state are troubling, to say the least. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu`s contention that his proposal to correct the imbalance between the legislative, executive and judicial branches is a smoke screen, hiding the real intention of residing the real power of the government in the Knesset.
If enacted, the judicial reform bill would allow the parliament to override the decision of the Supreme Court by a single vote. One of the mandates of the Supreme Court is to ensure equal protection under the law. This is designed to ensure that minority rights are not trampled upon by a law promulgated by a zealous and self-serving Knesset.
In making a decision, the Supreme Court must balance the rights of the minority with the rights of the majority on a particular issue. For example, parliament recently had a preliminary vote sponsored by Jewish Power led by Itamar Ben-Gvir to impose the death penalty on people convicted of murder in political violence against Israeli citizens. It is important to note that this bill does not appear to include protection of all people residing in Israel. If enacted in its present form, it is likely that this law would be struck down by the Supreme Court since it does not afford equal protection under the law. However, this decision could be overturned by a single vote in the Knesset.
For many years, Israel has trumpeted itself as a clarion call of democracy in the Middle East, a beacon of light among many totalitarian regimes. I am sorry to say that the passage of the proposed judicial reforms would result in the muting of this clarion call and the extinguishment of this beacon of light.
Mitchell Wasson, Olney