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Israeli Politics

Benjamin Netanyahu Loses Miriam Adelson and Noa Tishby on Judicial Reform

Noa Tishby

Noa Tishby (from her website)

Benjamin Netanyahu has lost two of Israel’s biggest supporters, who have both now come out and made statements critical of his government’s controversial judicial reform plan. Noa Tishby, the Israeli actress who has in recent years worked as a vocal defender of Israel with videos on social media and in speeches, told Israel’s Ynet news in an interview that she opposes the plan. And major Republican figure in America, Miriam Adelson, the widow of billionaire businessman Sheldon Adelson who gave financial support to Netanyahu’s political campaigns over the years, has also criticized the government.

Sheldon Adelson was also a big supporter of Donald Trump and is credited as one of the people who pushed Trump to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capitol. Adelson also bankrolled Israel’s free daily Hebrew Newspaper “Yisrael Hayom” (Israel Today) which has a right-wing bent and has always supported Netanyahu personally. In fact, the paper is actually part of Benjamin Netanyahu’s corruption trial in which he stands accused of attempting to extort the Hebrew daily newspaper Yidiot Ahronot – parent company of Ynet) into providing him with better coverage.

This is why it is so shocking that Miriam Adelson chose to write an editorial in the English version of Israel Hayom criticizing Netanyahu’s government for moving too fast with the reforms.

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“I do not agree with each and every ruling handed down by the High Court over the years,” she said “But just as I have been disappointed by some rulings, I always knew that I could draw encouragement and find justice in others. And, of course, I honored all of them equally.”

But Adelson added the following admonishment of Netanyahu’s government.

“Regardless of the substance of the reforms, the government’s dash to ratify them is naturally suspect, raising questions about the root objectives and concern that this is a hasty, injudicious, and irresponsible move. A good deal is reached through cold-eyed circumspection. Slow down!”

As for Noa Tishby, in a column published in Hebrew on Ynet she said, “I will say it in the sharpest and clearest way: Diaspora Jewry and Israel’s supporters in the world are shocked. They are shocked. With great pain they look and see how the country they fiercely defended — in Congress, in the media, on the networks or to foreign governments — is changing its face.”

Noa Tishby went on to say that she has never before made such a political statement. But she was adamant in her opposition to the planned judicial reform saying it is “not a reform, but a coup,” thereby echoing the leaders of the opposition in Israel’s Knesset who have been making a similar charge.

Massive protests have rocked Israel over the past two months, ever since Justice Minister Yariv Levin revealed the government’s plans to alter the nature of Israel’s judicial system. The government’s judicial reform plan would greatly curtail the power of Israel’s Supreme Court to nullify legislation passed by the Knesset and also limit the authority of Israel’s attorney general. The opposition charges this would harm Israel’s democracy, eroding foreign confidence in the country and hurting its economy. And this is why the country is now on the brink of what some are describing as the biggest societal clash in Israel’s history.



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