Critics say Israeli judicial reform would end checks on Orthodox Jewish establishment

by | Feb 16, 2023 | Religion

JERUSALEM (RNS) — Susan Weiss, an Israeli activist, worries that proposed judicial reform that would grant Israeli lawmakers the right to overrule the country’s Supreme Court would greatly broaden the reach of Israel’s Orthodox Jewish establishment.“We think the state should not be in charge of religion. The state should not pick and choose which expression of Judaism they think is authentic,” said Weiss, one of an estimated 300,000 Israelis who flooded the streets outside the country’s High Court on Monday (Feb. 13) to protest the proposed bills.
If successful, the proposed reform would allow a slim majority of lawmakers — just 61 of 120 in the Knesset — to reverse High Court decisions. It would also give parliamentarians the final say on who can serve as a judge. 
Weiss and many others fear that the proposed judicial overhaul would allow the religious parties that make up a crucial swing vote in Israel’s Knesset, or parliament, to impose fervently religious norms on Israel’s non-Orthodox majority. 

“I’m here for my grandchildren. I want them to live in a country that’s democratic and protects the civil liberties of all its citizens,” said Weiss, whose organization has argued cases on behalf of women’s rights before the High Court.
Supporters of the reforms consider …

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