Democracy in Hebrew is דמוקרטיה represented by the letter “dalet” ד
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Dictatorship and democracy both begin with dalet. Does the Supreme Court in Israel get elected or is it a kind of old boys network? Can a Haredi Jew be on the Supreme Court?
Craig, selection of judges is based on three principles: professionalism, independence, and diversity. The current system in Israel that was established in 1953 is pretty good while not perfect. (In most cases, supreme court judges are selected among judges of lower instances.)
There is indeed some ingredient of “old boys network” or “peer-review” in the selection process (similar perhaps, to academic processes in selecting faculty members and many other selection processes in society.) A striking fact is that only in 1977 the first woman was appointed to the supreme court!
However, there is a gradual improvement in the representation of different parts of the society. Given the number of senior women in the legal profession, women are still underrepresented. Other underrepresented groups are Arabs, Haredi Jews, and Jews from eastern origins. Yes, a Haredi Jew can be elected to the Supreme court. A Haredi Jew already served for about a decade, and the issue is certainly on the agenda see https://www.bhol.co.il/news/979967 .
The idea that there is something inherently undemocratic about the executive and legislative branches having the major role in the selection of judges to the higher courts, or that having such a system leads to undemocratic practices, is preposterous. The United States has exactly such a system, and they do not have mass demonstrations, and public prosecutors and mainstream media campaigns trying to overthrow the elected Government with fake news and politically motivated prosecutions. Neither do they have a justice department and a criminal investigations arm that interferes in elections, breaks the law and tries to frame the chief executive by illegal and unethical investigative tactics. And they do not have ambassadors who unashamedly declare that the public of the nation they have been accredited to wishes them to interfere in their internal affairs.
Hi Moshe, at present the Isreali supreme court provides constitutional protection of civil rights including the right to elect and be elected in free elections. The new proposed laws that fundamentally change Israel’s democratic system account by many Israelis including myself as a transition to Hungary-type democracy where the ruling party control everything.
Constitutions can be changed without imperiling civil rights and electoral laws. The gearing proposed by the Government needs to be changed and probably will be – it is one of the items that can be negotiated. So instead of a 61-59 majority and one dissenting Supreme Court judge being sufficient to override a Supreme Court decision, an 80-40 majority and 3 dissenting judges (out of 15) would be in line with other countries, such as the US.
The other three proposals seem to me to be entirely reasonable. Supreme Court judges should not be appointed by themselves, legal advisers to the Government should be advisers, not umpires, and concocted subjective criteria such as reasonableness should not be allowed to be used by judges who seek to push private agendas.
Your fear of a Government that controls everything is not applicable to any Likud-led government. The media, academia, the arts and big business are all firmly in the hands of the left, and have enjoyed massive funding, not least the favourable taxation regime that has benefited so many hi-tech and other billionaires.
Hi Moshe, I will be happy if a reasonable compromise could be reached. The extreme nature of the proposals and the willingness to cause so much damage (already!) raise concerns about the government’s intentions, although this could have been simply a miscalculation. It is quite possible that the reform laws themselves will be cancelled by the supreme court in which case we may face a difficult situation. (You have a point regarding media/academia/arts/business at present.)
There could be three different reasons for the Justice Minister to propose that just a 61-59 majority will be sufficient to override a court rejection of legislation. One, it is a starting position to be changed in negotiations. Two, it is a position that he wants to see enacted since the laws he wants to push through have narrow support. Three, he just didn’t think it through; it is a fact that he did not hold any consultations even within Likud. Personally, I believe that he wants to negotiate the numbers.
The reaction of the opposition and the media is out of all proportion. A majority in the Knesset clearly supports the reform, and if partisanship were cast aside some in the opposition would also support it. But today in Israel as in many other countries the power of the elected legislature is diminished and the power of the media, of the judiciary, of the government bureaucracy and of business leaders rivals and sometimes exceeds it.
Singapore has the highest standard of living on the planet, from longevity to homeownership to education to crime to income to healthcare to infrastructure to government efficiency. Democracy has some glaring mathematical deficiencies, but it has become a religion. See Mark Dice interview Californians about the meaning of the 4th of July. There is talk and then there is reality. Poll after poll reveal an extremally gullible and ignorant populace. Democratic peace theory is a wash.
Democracy isn’t perfect but it is better than dictatorship. I would not go to Singapore.