The Knesset (Israel’s parliament) just passed the first reading of the new government’s long-overdue bill to reform Israel’s Extreme Leftist Judiciary Gone Wild. The bill now goes to committee and then needs to pass two more readings to become law. To give you an idea as to how totalitarian and dictatorial Israel’s leftist judicial system has become — in contradistinction to its parliament that is elected in free and open democratic elections that attract more than 70 percent of eligible voters — digest this insanity: A power-obsessed unelected dictator, the “attorney general,” just handed down a diktat that the duly elected prime minister and head of government, Benjamin Netanyahu, is forbidden to discuss anything dealing with that judicial reform legislation. She also forbade him from talking with his Minister of Communications without her prior permission. Earlier, she ordered Bibi to fire one of his cabinet members. When Israel’s quasi-ceremonial head of state, President Isaac Herzog, invited Netanyahu to engage with the Left in compromise negotiations over the proposed judicial reform, this tyrant AG barred him from engaging in those talks.
Israel needs this reform desperately to take power away from a small self-selected coterie of extreme-left tyrants who impose their own personal opinions on the Knesset. In Israel, the people and their elected representatives do not have the authority that our American Constitution gives to the president and the Senate to nominate and approve judges. Rather, the leftist justices themselves forever have controlled the committee that appoints new justices. They cancel out brilliant candidates who express differing views. Unlike in America, they alone have the power of impeachment, and — surprise! — they watch out for each other. They even hire each other’s kids for coveted Supreme Court clerkships. They cannot be checked, cannot be overturned. They fabricate laws and disregard others on the books. Unlike America, they can order the duly elected head of government to fire his cabinet choices. They can hear cases brought by extreme-left NGOs funded by George Soros, even though the plaintiffs have no standing and the matters are not justiciable. They truly are an Extreme Leftist Judiciary Gone Wild.
The public elected a conservative government aligned with Jewish religious traditions, and the attorney general and the defeated Israeli leftist parties and their backers are in outright defiance after losing their fifth consecutive national election in under four years. How outright is their defiance? Just the other day, elected parliamentarians from all the major leftist parties climbed on tables, like kids spraying ketchup at each other at a birthday party, to disrupt a meeting of the Knesset’s Constitution, Law, and Justice Committee.
It seems that every free and democratic vote that results in victory for conservatives marks the “death of democracy.” If you Google “death of democracy in America,” you get 54,800,000 results. No social media “influencer” can match that. Among the first 10 results, Al Jazeera forebodes doom: “Unless that simple, yet hard realisation is embraced by folks now, America’s dark days will only become dimmer.”
Meanwhile, a Google search for “death of democracy in Israel” is more reassuring, returning only 29,500,000 results. At the top of the list? Yes, Al Jazeera: “Many left-wing Israelis are concerned that anti-democratic legislation is pushing Israel towards fascism.” Fortunately, the state-owned mouthpiece of Qatar can shine civilization’s light. Alcohol consumption is punishable in Qatar by 40 whippings. Proselytizing? Ten years in prison. And then there is stoning.
Leftist pundits race cynically to declare that almost every consequential Republican victory in America and Likud-Religious success in Israel will result in the “death of democracy.” Such absurd hyperboles are codswallop, pure and simple nonsense. Yes, Israel’s democracy differs procedurally from America’s in certain ways. Israel is not America, and — viewing American democracy’s evolution in recent years — that may not be so bad. Not only Israel but also most European democracies differ from America. On separation of religion from state, the British monarch is the supreme governor of the Church of England. The archbishop of Canterbury is designated by the reigning monarch on the advice of the prime minister. Measures passed by the General Synod of the Church of England, the church’s legislative body, must be approved by Parliament. Does that relationship between religion and the state make England a “theocracy” or less “democratic”? Frankly, America could use more religion, not coercion but religious freedom.
Like the U.K., Israel enjoys a robust Western democratic structure while maintaining a historic bond with the religious identity underlying its existence. There is a Chief Rabbinate, a ministry of religion, and other symbols of a Jewish country. Through its first 74 years, Israel’s core commitment to Western democracy never has been challenged, with even Labor Party secularists like David Ben-Gurion honoring the country’s unique cultural and religious Judaic heritage and institutions. None of this is surprising because England guided Israel into statehood based on British democratic institutions, language, and customs.
Democracy thrives in Israel — at times in overdrive, as evidenced by just having conducted five national elections in three-plus years. Who does that? Parties of every sort compete freely: Communists, socialists, Russian and Ukrainian anti-Communists, Arabs devoted to ending Zionism, “pirates,” TikTok “influencers,” liberals, libertarians, pensioners, conservatives, Ashkenazic Hasidic Haredis, Ashkenazic anti-Hasidic Haredis, Sephardic religionists — parties of every imaginable stripe. Most recently, the “You and Me” party transcended its name, accruing 746 votes (0.02 percent), while the “We” party scored fewer at 334 votes. That is Israeli democracy in all its robustness and, yes, madness. None of that will change amid the proposed legislative initiatives and reforms promised by the democratically chosen new government.
There is so much of the original extreme-left socialism to throw out, and the conservative side has had to bide its time for half a century. You wanna talk encroachment into private lives by government mask mandates? Get this: For years, Israel required all color televisions to be converted into black and white, coercing manufacturers and importers to install a device that killed the color. The rule was imposed by socialists who wanted all televisions to be equal. Democracy? Ultimately, the people universally subverted that law, privately installing into their respective sets an additional black-market device that overrode the government-mandated color-killing device. Democracy in the underground at the grassroots — in living color.
Through each of Israel’s recent five national elections of April 19, 2019; Sept. 17, 2019; March 2, 2020; March 23, 2021; and November 1, 2022, an alliance of politically conservative and religious Jewish parties repeatedly has scored solid democratic vote pluralities over alternative slates of Jewish leftists, liberals, and secularists. Here is the scoreboard of right-religious wins over the left-secular Jewish alliances for elections one to five:
No. 1: 60+ to 56
No. 2: 55–52
No. 3: 58–47
No. 4: 59–51
No. 5: 64–46
Through five consecutive national votes in under four years, Israel’s Jewish voters democratically have opted repeatedly for a distinctly religious-nationalist course away from the secular-socialist-left direction that preceded it. The Israeli Left and their cheerleaders at the New York Times and Washington Post describe the ensuing government as the “Death of Democracy.” In reality, one might call the Israeli left-secular accusations the Death of Reason. And one certainly should call them Sore Losers.
What American Conservatives Should Learn from Israel’s Wild Culture Battle