Beyond the Cusp

March 22, 2019

It’s Official, Israel is not a Democracy

Filed under: Israel — qwertster @ 2:58 AM
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Israel, despite what most people believe, has ceased to be a democratic state. Israel has become a form of oligarchy. There exists a select group who have decided that their opinions are to be set as rulings by which everything else may proceed. These selected elite have decided that they are all-powerful. They are empowered to have the greatest say as to whom they will permit to become one of their anointed elites. They have the power to strike down any law or other decision by the elected of Israel, the Knesset. After forcing the Knesset to bow before their omnipotent powers, they then turned to the IDF. They tested the waters and found that their opinions outweighed the orders of commanders and before you know it, they were deciding every move of the Israeli military. There latest infraction was overruling the Election Commission and reversing virtually every decision they had debated and voted on concerning the next elections. The Election Commission is made up of elected members of the Knesset while these elites may never have been approved by more than one or at most two Knesset members and instead elected by an elite group of like-minded individuals of which three of the nine are amongst the sitting elites. Just in case you are still wondering of what we are referencing, the Israeli Supreme Court just decided that theirs is the last say in who may and may not be on the ballot in the upcoming Israeli April 9, 2019, elections.


They reached a decision which has great approval if your idea of great approval is the majority of those found sipping some exotic coffee along the beach in Tel Aviv thinking that spending seventy-five shekels for a cup of coffee is a bargain. The average Israel spends at most ten shekels for a cup of coffee, and that comes with a croissant. But who needs the input of those boors who cannot afford a decent cup of coffee. They need to be led and only provided wise choices as approved by their betters. Thus, the Israeli Supreme Court has taken up the arbitrator of who may and may not be permitted to run for the Knesset. Provided your party believes that Israel must be a multi-cultural state completely devoid of any reference to the Jews, then you are their kind of candidate. If, on the other hand, you have ever read or listened to anything by Rabbi Kahane, then you are to be stricken from the ballot as you are a murdering racist. There is that key word again, racist. Their favorite claim is that you have a picture of Baruch Goldstein hanging on the living room wall to which you face when you say your morning prayers. This is a trope with which they cast any religious-Zionist as revering the murderous, evil, and we will say it ourselves when it is required, racist maligner of all that is holy. Religious-Zionists and the vast majority of those who are cast as being of the boorish right, there is no other kind of right in their sight, are claimed to approve if not laud, what that murdering embarrassing miscreant who has provided so many with the perfect whip to try and beat any opposition into submission, his acts. That is as untrue as it could be as we treasure life, all life, as anybody who has taken actual account of Israeli actions even in time of war knows; religious Jews and Jews generally worship life and abhor death. Israel actually treasures the lives of their enemies often more so than do their enemies’ own leadership who readily sacrifice them for political expediency.


Those who follow, we would like to say understand but so few understand exactly how Israeli politics works, Israel and their governance realizes, ever since Chief Justice Aharon Barak who advanced a judicial activist approach ruling that everything is adjudicable. Using this crack in the door, the Israeli Supreme Court has literally blown the door right off of its hinges. The Supreme Court has gone well beyond simply striking down laws enacted by the elected Knesset, but has made law and then enforced same, overruled decisions by the Prime Minister, Knesset, Defense Minister, Field Commanders, all the way down to company commanders and anything else they saw and believed required their sagely intervention. When the selection process currently in place permits for the Supreme Court includes the Justice Minister who chairs the selection, one Cabinet Minister who is chosen by the Prime Minister’s Cabinet, two members of the Bar Association, two Knesset Members usually one member from the coalition and one from the opposition, the Chief Justice and two justices from the sitting Supreme Court. Any casual perusing of the selection committee will very quickly realize that the legal profession has a total lock on who is selected and the elected members on the committee are pretty much window dressing made to have it appear the people will have their will represented. If you take the three Supreme Court justices plus one Knesset member from either the coalition or the opposition, one of these is likely to accept a nominee while the other would not, and the two members of the Bar Association and you realize that no candidate will attain the seven votes necessary for elevation to the Supreme Court without the support of most of these individuals whose main criteria is to keep the court representative of far left, progressive policies. The Israeli Supreme Court has not seriously changes their political view or leanings since the early 1960’s, if ever. This has led to a Supreme Court which no longer represents the people of Israel. Where many in Europe and across this wide world will claim that anything which denies the average Israeli power over the actions of the nation is a good thing, such would not be approved of in any other nation. One can only wonder how long any sitting Supreme Court in the United States would remain if they were to decide that they were to be permitted final say over all decisions made by Congress, the President, the individual states and were to be allowed to review and countermand military orders to their forces. This is what the world claims is required in Israel only because the current Israeli Supreme Court is just as left as they tend to be.


Chief Justice Aharon Barak

Chief Justice Aharon Barak


There are claims that should members of some of the political parties be granted the position of Justice Minister, they will rein in the Supreme Court. Some claim they will make Supreme Court selection be made by the Prime Minister or Justice Minister and approved by the Knesset. We have heard this siren’s song before and have yet to see it come to fruition. There is a simple question which need be answered; who honestly believes that the Israeli Supreme Court, the arbiters of all that is considered holy, will allow any new means of selecting their successors which leaves them out of the loop instead of being the entire loop to stand and not simply declare such a law as void. With the Supreme Court presumably sitting in decision over everything emanating from the Knesset and the Prime Minister, Justice Minister, the rest of the cabinet and virtually everything else short of landing rights at Ben Gurion Airport (likely because they had not considered such before) would allow any law which changes their near god-like powers from continuing. If and when such a piece of legislation is passed by the Knesset, something which would require more intestinal fortitude than unfortunately is lacking in far too many Israeli politicians, and signed by the Prime Minister, another highly improbable occurrence, the Supreme Court would pounce upon it like a male guppy eating its offspring and that would be the end of that legislation. We would give odds that after such, the majority of Knesset Ministers would then claim that they had attempted to fulfill the desires of the people and were thwarted and thus there was nothing further they could do.


Wrong, and is wrong on so many levels. First, and equally obvious, they could continue to pass normal legislation demanding the changes they desire. But there is another step they could take which would potentially bring on what would be a constitutional crisis, if only Israel had a constitution. But Israel has what most consider the next best thing, Basic Laws. These Basic Laws are treated like the rough draft for a constitution. They are the only laws requiring that they receive sixty-one affirmative votes, a majority of the entire Knesset. Oh, regular laws only require that the Knesset be in session and then a majority of those casting votes. If you have a group of you and six (could be almost any number) of like minded members of the Knesset and a single official who is permitted to call the Knesset into session, then technically you could pass any legislation you desired, for a first vote. Every piece of legislation is required to pass three such votes and between the first and second, if not from the outset, must pass through at least one Knesset committee. This means that though you may have passed such legislation to get it on the books, if you do not have general agreement, then you legislation will fail on the subsequent votes. But a basic law requires a majority of the Knesset to pass, which is not an easy task, as we would rather have to herd a hundred kittens than herd together sixty-one Knesset members agreeing on anything including that the sky is blue and water is wet. To date, the Supreme Court has resisted vetoing any legislation which was passed as a Basic Law, but if how new Supreme Court Justices are chosen were to pass as a Basic Law, we might just see an exception and their intervening to cut it from the rule of law even as a Basic Law. This would be the declaration of war between the legislative and judicial branches of government and it would be an ugly and drawn out affair. Sure, we would have lots to write about, but who would want to read about such a bloodletting?


What we would wait for is when the other idea being put forth would become law, Basic Law preferably. That idea is that the Knesset could override the ruling of a law being unacceptable by the Supreme Court with a two-thirds vote of the entire Knesset, or simply with eighty votes out of the one-hundred-twenty Knesset members. Gathering such would be impossible, as it has been difficult enough to form a coalition which merely requires sixty-one members whose party leaders are willing to join the elected Prime Minister. Of course, one could claim that every Prime Minister of Israel was selected and not elected. The not elected is easy as no party in a very long time, nor is likely in the near or distant future, has received sixty-one mandates and thus able to form a coalition by themselves. This means that no head of a party received a majority of the vote, which is expected when you have at least a dozen parties. The way one becomes Prime Minister is that the President of Israel selects the party he feels is most capable of forming a coalition, and if they fail he may choose another party to give it a go, and eventually he will simply call for new elections as he would run out of leaders to choose. More often than not, the party chosen also is the party which received the most votes, though such was not the case not so long ago as a left-centrist party, Kadima, received twenty-eight mandates while the Likud received merely twenty-seven mandates, but the President chose the Likud to form a coalition first, which they were able to do easily, well, easily under Israeli guidelines. Yes, there was much caterwauling from the left claiming that Kadima could have easily formed a coalition though their arguments often only added up to fifty-seven mandates, if that, which would not be sufficient, but who needs reality when arguing politics, as many will claim, not us. In all honesty, we do attempt never to use our own facts unless we make sure to state it is conjecture, or it be obviously such.


Does Israel require some limitations being placed on the Supreme Court? The answer is most definitely. What Israel requires even more is an actual constitution which has been approved, even if it need be done in increments over a two-year period, by the majority of people voting on the actual wording. Having the constitution approved in its entirety would be preferable, but would also be so unlike the way things get done in Israel. The first thing which would need to be sorted out is that the Supreme Court would have absolutely no say beyond as an advisory group in the forming of said constitution. Further, the constitution would be required to address things beyond limitations on the Supreme Court or how Supreme Court and other justices are chosen. The constitution should also make a system by which the Prime Minister becomes directly elected by the people, some form of bicameral legislature and a means for amending the constitution which should include acceptance by the electorate by at a minimum, a majority and preferable sixty-percent. We even have ideas on how such could be accomplished.


Electing the Prime Minister would simply be convoluted, as is everything here in Israel, with each person casting three votes, a first choice weighing five points, a second choice receiving three points and a third choice receiving one point. The person with the most points wins. Perhaps that was not as painful as we thought. The bicameral legislature is going to be a bit more trouble. The lower house would be chosen exactly as is the current Knesset with the parties being the recipient of the votes and selecting their own lists. Without permitting the parties such power, no constitution could ever win approval of the Knesset. Next would be the upper house which would have anywhere from sixty to seventy-five members, we will not pick the exact number. These people would be directly elected with voters having five choices weighted as follows, ten for first, seven for second, five for third, three for fourth and finally one for fifth. The people who receive the highest number of points would make up the other house and as such would be selected directly by the people. Would such an idea ever be accepted is less the question than would such an idea ever be floated other than in an editorial. Such a constitution would not only limit the powers of the Supreme Court, it would undercut the current powers of the parties and the Knesset would share legislative power with a second body which was more responsive to the people. The Prime Minister would also now be directly elected. There would need be the allowing for parties whose members are selected for the other body to lift them from their Knesset list allowing the next person to fill the slot with a similar condition made for the Prime Minister. This is necessary simply because the individual parties would insist on placing their most popular people on their lists but would not stand losing their position if they also were selected by the popular vote. On the other side, many people would shy from seeking the directly elected position when they know they would have a safe position on their party list. The aim is to get the best people chosen by the people into the government giving the people and the parties each as much latitude as possible. Israelis deserve the best the parties have to offer and also the best individuals regardless of parties. The constitution also need make lists of those seeking office beyond the reach of the Supreme Court and possibly beyond the reach of an election commission and simply allow the people to decide. Of course, just allow the electorate to decide is an anathema to those who hold power simply because of their swelled self-worth. Personally, I would rather be ruled by five-hundred Israelis chosen completely at random than the selected candidates chosen by the parties, but that would never fly. Perhaps that could be a choice on the presented possibilities for a constitution and perhaps others will see the wisdom, if any, in that plan. At least everyone would have equal opportunity to be in the Knesset, which would make things interesting to say the least. The best we can hope for now is for integrity to slip into Israeli governance and thus the ability to form a constitution which empowers the people over the selected few who currently are placed in power. Eventually, the people will demand no less, eventually being the operative word.


Beyond the Cusp


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