The Government Coup
Removing Checks and Balances While Granting the Executive Authority Unbridled Power
The government structure in Israel lacks a constitution, in place of which are Basic Laws that may be easily changed. The lack of separation between legislative and executive authorities positions the Supreme Court as the central body capable of balancing and monitoring government policy. The independent professional system of legal counsel via the attorney general and legal advisors to government ministries, is also of great importance.
Upon taking office, the 37th government commenced a tsunami of legislative initiatives aimed at removing the checks and balances that restrict the executive authority’s capacity to act, specifically limiting the Supreme Court’s independence and oversight. This government initiative has been led by Minister of Justice Yariv Levin, who declared a judicial revolution on the eve of January 4, 2023, and by the Constitution, Law and Justice Committee Member of Knesset (MK), Simcha Rothman. The government primarily employs private rather than government bills, which first pass through the Ministry of Justice’s legal counsel, seemingly to shorten the time that the legislative process will take.
The judicial overhaul is planned to be carried out in several stages, through layered legislation. Each component will have a disastrous impact in and of itself. Together, they threaten to dramatically change the face of the legal system and mode of governance in Israel: from separation of powers, to checks and balances – elimination of judicial independence and an unbridled government; from professional judges, to judges serving on their behalf; and from a government that must justify its actions – to a government permitted to act arbitrarily and capriciously, all under the false guise of a “governance issue.” The primary victims of this process will be democracy in Israel and human rights for us all.
This text briefly presents the judicial overhaul’s various proposals and initiatives, along with an analysis of the danger they pose to human rights and democracy. For a brief background on the significance of Basic Laws, scroll to the bottom of the page.
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