ZOA Strongly Criticizes Israeli Supreme Court for Expanding its Judicial Dictatorship
News Press Release
January 8, 2024

Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) National President Morton A. Klein and ZOA Director of Research and Special Projects Liz Berney, Inc. released the following statement:

It is appalling that the Israeli Supreme Court rejected the longstanding will of the Israeli public and Israel’s democratically-elected representatives, with two decisions on January 1st cementing the Israeli Supreme Court’s judicial dictatorship over Israel.  

First, by one vote (a divisive 8 to 7 decision, including two retired judges whose votes resulted in this terrible decision) the Israeli Supreme Court struck down the “reasonableness Basic Law” (Basic Law: the Judiciary – Amendment No. 3), which the Knesset had passed in July.  Basic Laws are considered to be the equivalent of a Constitution, and have never been struck down before.  The “reasonableness Basic Law” had placed a modest limit on the Israeli Supreme Court’s imperious domination over the democratic will of the Israeli people, by prohibiting Israeli courts from using the judges’ own subjective views about what is “reasonable” to overturn the actions of Israel’s democratically-elected government officials.   

In addition, in a 12-3 decision, the Israeli Supreme Court ruled that it could strike down Basic Laws that, in the judges’ opinion, “undermine Israel’s Jewish and democratic character.”  This decision lets self-appointed judges substitute their own subjective views about a Basic Law’s “democratic character” for real democratically-enacted laws.  This outrageous ruling is equivalent to the U.S. Supreme Court simply striking down parts of the U.S. Constitution and Constitutional Amendments that the justices don’t like.

Since the Israeli Supreme Court seized enormous, tyrannical power in the 1990s, the Court has issued numerous harmful decisions, including decisions preventing security measures, that resulted in innocent Israeli women and children being murdered by terrorists.  The upshot of Monday’s decision is that the self-appointed Israeli Supreme Court judges gave themselves even more unchecked power over virtually every aspect of Israeli life, in violation of the public’s insistence that there must be checks and balances, including some modest limits on the Court’s power.  

It is especially troubling that the Court chose to issue the decisions cementing its dictatorial power while Israel is in the midst of battling Hamas, Hezbollah, Fatah and Houti terrorists.  Israel is now focused on attempting to win the war, and on helping the hundreds of thousands of Jews displaced by the war.  Thus, dealing with the Supreme Court’s usurpation of power may need to wait – although it may also make sense to move forward with much needed democratic reform now. We hope that when the appropriate opportunity arises, Israel’s democratically-elected representatives will again enact needed judicial reform, and have it upheld by a Court that does not include biased, self-serving retired judges. 

For further information on the need for Israeli judicial reform, seeIsraeli Judicial Reforms Are Good for Democracy Rule of Law,” Jerusalem Post Op Ed by Morton A. Klein and Elizabeth Berney, Esq., Feb. 13, 2023.

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