Don’t Abolish Crucial Checks and Balances in Government

Target: Shalom Shlomo, Cabinet Secretary to the Prime Minister’s Office in Israel

Goal: Defend Israel from turning into a dictatorship.

Thousands of men and women have wrapped themselves in the Israel blues to surround the Knesset in Jerusalem. All eyes are on a group of women in Tel Aviv dressed up in a ritualistic red dress and white head coverings, resembling the priestesses in ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ by Margaret Atwood. They are on the streets with a mission: to defend the rights to democracy from the current government. The coalition government has proposed a set of reforms that will have a drastic impact on Israel’s judiciary.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was indicted by the court on 21st November 2019 on several counts including an alleged breach of trust. The High Court of Justice issued a summons to Netanyahu on 10th February 2023, allowing him one month to respond to a petition submitted by The Movement for Quality Government in Israel. The petition accuses him of being unfit for office and would force the indicted leader to take a leave of absence. The petition cites the ongoing judicial reforms process to argue that Netanyahu violates a conflict of interest agreement that prevents him from influencing his trial. Netanyahu requested Attorney General Gali Baharav-Miara to narrow down the scope of the conflict of interest agreement that he had signed in 2020. AG Baharav-Miara has ruled that Netanyahu can speak about maintaining public order in the protests without it being considered an agreement breach. However, he is not allowed to deal directly with the reform process and instead work via another minister.

Meanwhile, the Knesset passed the first reading of the proposed bills. A bill has to pass three readings to be held as a law. The next reading is expected by the end of March. American president Joe Biden expressed his concerns about the reforms, imploring the need for public consensus and an independent judiciary. Biden compared the State of Israel with the USA, pointing to the democratic institutions that govern.

Sign the petition below to stand in solidarity with protesters in Israel.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Secretary Shlomo,

The Knesset has passed the first reading of the proposed judicial reforms bills in the face of widespread criticism and protests. US President Joe Biden has compared the democratic institutions of Israel with those of the US, highlighting the importance of an independent judiciary for checks and balances. In addition, the US Ambassador, Tom Nides, has urged the coalition government to “pump the brakes” on the new deal.

Critics point out that the passage of the bill could transform Israel into a de facto dictatorship. Such an event is unwanted by the public, who have turned out in thousands to protest.

Secretary Shlomo, we demand that you do all in your power to make the voice of the people of Israel heard in the Prime Minister’s office.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Taylor Brandon


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