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Israel, protests against changes in the judiciary. Konstanty Gebert comments

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There has never been such an attack on the independence of the judiciary in Israel’s history. Half of Israel is terrified of such a vision of a state in which nothing limits the arbitrariness of the rulers, said Konstanty Gebert, a journalist, writer and Polish psychologist of Jewish origin, on TVN24 about the ongoing protests in Israel.

There are protests in Israel in response to the ruling coalition’s initial approval of a bill limiting the supervisory powers of the Supreme Court, which opponents say is leading the country towards authoritarian rule. Prime Minister’s project Benjamin Netanyahu assumes control of politicians over the appointment of judges, granting the parliament the power to overrule court decisions and depriving the Supreme Court of the power to negate government decisions.

Gebert: half of Israel is terrified of such a vision of the state

On Monday, Konstanty Gebert, publicist, journalist, Polish psychologist of Jewish descent, translator and academic teacher, spoke on TVN24 about the protests in Israel.

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Protest in IsraelEPA/ABIR SULTAN

– Israel has no constitution, so Supreme Court it is the only instance capable of limiting the arbitrariness of the government. This coalition argues that since the sovereign chose it, they govern and can basically do whatever they want and there will be no – quote – unelected judiciary standing in the way of the sovereign’s will. Half of Israel is terrified of such a vision of a state where nothing limits the arbitrariness of the rulers, he said.

Gebert: There has never been such a radical attempt to change the state system before

He stressed that “there has never been such an attack on the independence of the judiciary in the history of Israel.” – This coalition has been trying to push through its package of laws since it took power in December this year. Earlier, there was no such radical attempt to change the state system, said Gebert.

Demonstrations on Israeli streetsPAP/EPA/ABIR SULTAN

He pointed out that “the ruling coalition obviously notices these manifestations.” – The prime minister claimed that the demonstrators attacked the policemen. Not a single policeman was injured, dozens of demonstrators were injured. He claims they are in the service of forces hostile to Israel. This is rhetoric we know from other countries where a similar conflict takes place – said the TVN24 guest.

– What is characteristic is that the sovereign does not go out into the street to demand the abolition of the independence of the courts. Although this coalition was indeed elected lege artis in democratic elections, it has an absolute majority in the Knesset, the supporters of this coalition do not go out into the street, and all polls unequivocally show that two-thirds of Israelis oppose this attack on the independence of the judiciary. Therefore, in the rhetoric of the coalition [pojawia się – przyp. red.] “the sovereign is us”, since the sovereign entrusted us with power – he explained.

Protests in Israel. TVN24 correspondent report

Gebert: the situation is much more dramatic than in Poland

When asked about emerging comparisons to the situation in Poland and changes in the judiciary carried out by PISthe publicist replied: – In Poland, although there is an attack on the independence of the judiciary, the constitution is still in operation, whether it is respected or not, but it is there, there are local governments, there is a system of electoral districts that makes deputies answer directly to their voters.

– We don’t have any of that in Israel, so in Israel the situation is much more dramatic. If the government manages to push through its “reform of the judiciary”, nothing will really protect the public interest – he said.

Main photo source: PAP/EPA/ABIR SULTAN



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