Myths and Facts About Israel’s Judicial Reform Explained

We have been covering Israel’s Judicial Reform quite a bit here at The Israel Guys recently but only because it is such a hot topic in Israel right now. There is so much misinformation being put out, not only from the mainstream media, but also from left-wing organizations here in Israel.

I came across an article this week that I found almost unbelievable. The article was published by a leader of the Messianic community here in Israel, writing about the Judicial Reforms. Now, I don’t know this man personally, but I have studied Israel’s Judicial Reforms largely enough to know that the information in this article is either completely false or largely skewed. The only reason I am writing about it today is because, unfortunately, this is the information that is being fed to much of the Israel-loving Christian community in the US and around the world. 

As a Christian Zionist who has worked in Israel for a number of years, I want to try and give you a more accurate picture of the facts of the matter. The article is titled “Myths and Facts about Israel’s Judicial Overhaul” and cites a “Myth” about a particular part of the issue of Judicial Reform and then gives the “Facts” about it. After giving you his “Facts” and “Myths,” I will give you my own fact check on what he said. Let’s dive into the article: 

Myth #1: The present coalition is Israel’s democratically-elected government. The people voted for these reforms. 

FACT: There is no such thing as a democratically-elected government in Israel. Don’t get me wrong, Israel is a democratic nation. But our elections do not work like they do in America, where you vote for a president and his platform. In Israel, you vote for a party. And then the leader of the party with the most votes must negotiate and horse trade in order to form a coalition of at least 51% of the Knesset seats. In this situation, he will have to compromise and make deals to get people to join. When he makes these compromises, he may end up doing things that he did not promise to do in order to build a government.

Fact Check: You can’t have a democratic government without democratic elections. Israel is a Jewish and democratic nation that has democratic elections. Israelis vote for the party of their choice and then the head of the party that receives the most votes then becomes the Prime Minister. It is very simple if you look at it in that light.

MYTH #2: The law passed by the Knesset on Sunday, July 23rd will serve to strengthen Israel’s democracy, not weaken it.

FACT: Today on CNN, Prime Minister Netanyahu told Wolf Blitzer that the law that they passed on Sunday would strengthen Israel’s democracy not weaken it. The law he is referring to is where the Supreme Court can overrule a decision by the government that is deemed “unreasonable.” Prime Minister Netanyahu sought to make it seem that “reasonableness” was a weak, arbitrary standard, but in truth it is legal term that “finds its roots in various legal traditions and influences. Israel’s legal system draws inspiration from Jewish law (Halakha), British common law, and legal principles adopted by other Western legal systems.”

Taking away this Device of the Supreme Court (to declare government decisions unreasonable) will destabilize Israel’s democratic nature because “Canceling that standard would remove the only tool for reviewing arbitrary and highly unreasonable decisions by the government.” There is no other check on the government’s decisions, since the executive and legislature are one.

Fact Check: Canceling the “reasonableness standard” does not remove the only tool for reviewing decisions passed by the government. The Supreme Court is supposed to review and strike down laws passed by the government if those laws contradict Israel’s quasi-constitution, the 13 basic laws. While it is true that Israel has no official constitution, Israel’s 13 Basic Laws have served for the past 75 years as a basis of laws that the Supreme Court upholds. 

MYTH #3: The protesters don’t represent the nation. Most people back the judicial reforms.

FACT: 66% of Israelis are against the reforms. 47% of the members of Netanyahu’s own Likud party are against the reforms. 70% want the ruling coalition (Netanyahu) and the opposition leaders (Lapid, Gantz) to meet together to decide on a way forward for judicial reform.

When 5% (500,000 people) of the entire nation go out on a Saturday night to protest, it is clear that the majority of a nation is concerned. Imagine nearly 17,000,000 Americans gathering to protest! I don’t believe that has ever happened, but that is what we are talking about. 

Fact Check: While I don’t know where these poll numbers came from, I do know that a majority of Israelis are very much in favor of Judicial Reform. This is not a new topic in Israel and politicians from both sides of the spectrum have been calling for reform to the judicial system for many years. It is only because this current, democratically-elected conservative government is trying to pass the reforms that the Left is throwing a tantrum. Also, while it is probably true that most Israelis want there to be some sort of consensus from both the left and right on what exactly the reforms should look like, throughout this entire process there have been many attempts by the Netanyahu government to hold compromise talks with the opposition, but none of them resulted in any meaningful progress. This is primarily because the leaders of the opposition have not shown any good-faith compromises to the legislation. 

MYTH #4: Israel will still have checks and balances between the legislative and the executive branch.

FACT: In Israel, the executive branch and the legislative branch are one in the same. The prime minister (executive) is the head of the coalition which is made-up of at least 51% of the Knesset (Legislature). By definition, the opposition (Knesset members not in the coalition) is less than 50%, and therefore has no legal authority to be a check or balance against the coalition. They can make noise, but that is about it.

Fact Check: Israel will still have checks and balances between the legislative and executive branches of government because this “reasonableness law” that was just passed didn’t actually change anything in the relationship between the executive and legislative branches. The Prime Minister has to have the full support of his coalition to pass any big law like this, and let me assure you  that in Israel this is no easy task. 

MYTH #5: The protests are just from the far left.

FACT: Israel is a center-right country. In the present Knesset, less than 4% of the seats belong to a left-wing party (the Labor party has 4 seats, which is 3.75%). The entire representation of the Israeli left wing is four seats out of 120!!! 

There are 51 seats in the right. 

There are 12 seats in the center-right.

There are 24 seats in the center.

There are 18 seats in the religious—who tend to caucus with the right.

And just 4 on the left!

So when 500,000 people protest, which represents at least 5 million (half the country), it is impossible to say that they are merely far-left protesters. 

Fact Check: While it is true that Israel could be called a center-right country, there are definitely more than four seats belonging to the left-wing block. The 24 seats of Yair Lapid’s party, while they call themselves center, are, in practice and in policy, actually left of center. Also, this article’s author left out the fact that there are ten Arab seats in the Knesset, which could be considered left of the left, because they vote against anything that will benefit the Jewish state of Israel. 

Just because there are 500,000 people protesting, does not mean they are representing “at least five million people.” 

While it is true that there have been people from both sides of the political spectrum protesting, the vast majority have been from the left or even far left in Israel, mainly due to the fact that the leaders of the Opposition, Yair Lapid and Benny Gantz, have been stirring them up with false accusations and misinformation against Netanyahu’s government, and threatening civil war. What is really interesting is there is actually no talk of civil war from the right, but only from many of the leftists, who are in the minority. 

I want to make it clear that I have nothing personal against the person who wrote this article. He most likely wrote it in good faith, trying to help people understand what is going on in Israel. 

If you don’t know who to believe on issues like this, do some research for yourself. Read the actual reforms and look into how Israel’s political situation works. Most of all, continue to pray for and support the Nation of Israel. While Israel is not heading into civil war as the media would like you to believe, the temperature in Israel right now has become a little heated. Pray for the nation to unify as a Jewish State. Pray that Israelis would come together and be able to see eye to eye as Jewish brothers and sisters. 

Josiah Hilton

Josiah Hilton is a native of Virginia Beach. He works full time in the Marketing Department for HaYovel and The Israel Guys as a Brand and Content Developer and Email Administrator. He is also a host for The Israel Guys Daily podcast.

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  • Jehovah is a just God and He hates injustice in all forms. Does anyone consult God about what He wants? Yeshua is love and died for the world. Why can’t we just have peace in the City of Peace? Shalom 🇮🇱

  • Jehovah is the just God – not a just god. He is not one of many. Is God a “he” or he/she? If God hates injustice in all forms, why did God permit the Holocaust? Was this a form of justice? In prayer we constantly ask God for God’s input and wisdom. Yeshua was a dedicated and spiritual Jewish man. By Jewish terminology we are all God’s children or the sons of God. If Jesus is standing at God’s elbow then your last question becomes more realistic.

  • Many of the protesters are sponsored by the USA.They aren’t even Jews.
    They did the same thing in Ukraine.And I other victim countries of CIA Color Revolutions.
    The biggest threat to Israel today is the JINO Murder Bomber Biden Maladministration.

    • May be from the USA now, but the same group has traveled disrupting the entire world, one country at a time with the financial backing of George Soros who is actually a Hungarian Jew! Real name is Schwartz, who lied about being Christian during Hitler’s seige of Jewish families so they would survive. Then he joined up “with Nazies” to steal and plunder his OWN PEOPLE!!

  • The left is certainly trying to take over these days. What a lot of noise they make with their woke ideas. The right has to become stronger to survive these days.

  • Once again HaYovel is telling their followers to distrust and disregard the testimony of the local Body of Messiah in Israel. You are so out of order it’s not even a joke. You’re also flat wrong with your “fact checks” especially the first one. The author of the original essay you’re critiquing is absolutely correct in his description of how a governing coalition is formed and a Prime Minister appointed, and your “fact check” proves that you haven’t studied this matter at all. The other three “fact checks” here are also flawed and offer even more proof that Josiah Hilton is talking about something he has little real knowledge of.

    In fairness, Israel’s parliamentary system is indeed difficult for most Americans to understand, which is an excellent reason for people like Josiah Hilton who has obviously never made much of an effort to look into it to not try to criticize people who have. The fact that you’re not an Israeli citizen and this stuff is absolutely none of your business is another excellent reason for you to not shoot your mouth off about it. Why don’t you go back to Virginia Beach and leave Israel to the Israelis?

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