In an interesting twist to the ongoing saga in Israel over the controversial judicial reform plan currently before the Knesset, a group of Americans who live in Israel Tuesday protested against the reforms in a demonstration held in front of the US consulate in Tel Aviv. This protest came as groups of Israelis – including air force pilots – have threatened to refuse reserve duty call ups should the reforms pass and massive demonstrations rock the country week after week.
The protestors, who hold dual American and Israeli citizenship, chanted slogans such as “This is not what democracy looks like.” They also spread out a huge copy of Israel’s declaration of independence along the promenade by Tel Aviv’s beach, a document which pledged that the country would be a democracy and respect minority rights. In the absence of a written constitution, the Israeli courts have depended on the country’s declaration of independence as a guide for determining whether or not laws passed by the Knesset are in keeping with the nation’s founding principles.
The political opposition in Israel charges that the reforms currently before the Knesset would end the ability of Israel’s Supreme Court to review the validity of new laws or actions by the country’s government, and thereby end its character as a democratic state.
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Keren Mor, a protest organizer, said, “Standing against this government’s policy is not standing against Israel, but standing with Israel! It is already clear that if the coup goes through, the friendship between the countries will be damaged, it must not be allowed to happen.”
As of now, Israelis are hopeful that a compromise on the reform plan mentioned by their President Isaac Herzog on Monday may come to fruition. The President has spent weeks negotiating with both sides for weeks in an attempt to find an end to the political turmoil.
“We are closer than ever to the possibility of an agreed outline,” said President Herzog Monday, stating that the sides have already reached “agreements behind the scenes on most things.”
“Now it depends on our national leadership,” he added, “the coalition and the opposition, who will succeed in rising to the magnitude of the moment, who will understand the terrible alternative that is hidden in the situation beyond the door and who will put the country and the citizens above everything.”