Who is Afraid of Israel’s Supreme Court?
In a democratic society, the primary activity of a Supreme Court consists in policing the practices of state and private organizations that impose their aims by trespassing into the individual realm of its citizens.
Not surprisingly, Supreme Courts worldwide are the priority stumbling block that needs to be neutralized in the agenda of would-be authoritarian and theocratic states.
The Israeli Supreme Court, for sure, is not exempt from occasionally lapsing into the rights of state and religion. However, by not having a Constitution delineating the parameters of institutional activities, the Israeli Supreme Court has to fill the gaps created by incomplete or lack of legislation and times erring as it does it.
Israel’s recently elected 37th government is dominated by a coalition of parties and individuals uncompromisingly set on subduing the country’s legal system in what many observers characterize as a “hostile take-over” of the country’s democratic institutions.
At the bottom is whether Israel is to be a pluralistic democracy or, like Iran, a theocratic entity.
Religious Zionists, with their aim of extending Israeli sovereignty and rebuilding Jerusalem’s Temple, and Haredi sectarians convinced that theirs is the only “real” Judaism are primarily responsible for the tension that has characterized the relationship between the Supreme Court and governments from the right and sects of Haredi Jews. Since the state’s foundation, this tension has been brewing increasingly, now reaching a precarious breaking point.