The Jewish People Policy Institute (JPPI) will launch a large campaign on Sunday calling for Israel’s leaders to reach a compromise on the government’s planned judicial reform under the slogan “No to coercion and violence, yes to dialogue,” the Jerusalem Post learned on Thursday .
The JPPI’s data showed that there is a real concern in Israel for an outbreak of violence and civil war over the reform, but that a window had also opened for politicians and other public figures to come together and begin a process to converge towards a compromise.
The campaign will include billboards across the country, newspaper ads and commercials, with quotes from politicians who support the compromise.
It will also encourage Israelis to sign a petition demanding that President Isaac Herzog, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and opposition leader MK Yair Lapid launch a process of compromise and dialogue.
“The Israeli public is very concerned about civil war, and each of us is responsible to prevent it,”
Prof. Yedidia Stern, president of JPPI
“The Israeli public is very concerned about civil war, and each of us is responsible to prevent it,” according to JPPI president Prof. Yedidia Stern. “We at the JPPI remember what happened to the Jewish people in its previous periods of sovereignty when the incitement and polarization led to disaster. We also, from the annals of Zionism, how unity brings unbelievable prosperity. The silent majority wants dialogue – now – and the goal is for politicians to listen,” Stern said.
Founded in 2002, the Jewish People Policy Institute serves as a think tank whose purpose is to advance and ensure the Jewish people’s prosperity, with Israel as its core state. The institute conducts strategic analysis and policy planning in core issues related to the Jewish people. The JPPI usually does not launch campaigns of this form and magnitude – but the concern for civil war led it to take the uncharacteristic step, according to the institute.
What is the judicial reform?
First announced on January 4 by Justice Minister Yariv Levin, the reform intends to rebalance Israel’s three branches of government, with its judicial branch, the Knesset, and its executive branch gaining significant power at the expense of the judicial branch.
The reforms include an Override Law that will enable a regular coalition of 61 Knesset members to re-legislate a law that the High Court of Justice deems unconstitutional; a change of the makeup of Israel’s Judicial Appointments Committee, so that the government will have an automatic majority to appoint judges, including High Court judges; a downgrade in the attorney general’s status so that her interpretation of the law on behalf of the government will not be binding; and more.
The reform’s protractors argue that the High Court took upon itself too much power which threw Israel’s governing system off balance – and the intention now is to bring it back to its normal place. The detractors argue that the reform will give the government unchecked power and turn Israel into an illiberal democracy, similar to Hungary and Poland.
The reform is drawing unprecedented protest throughout the country, with dozens of professional groups from nearly every sector publishing petitions against it – including over 300 of Israel’s leading economists, chief executives in Israel’s vaunted hi-tech sector, legal practitioners, doctors and many more.
Over 100,000 Israelis have also attended weekly demonstrations in Tel Aviv.