April 11, 2023


Judicial overhaul negotiation teams hold talks on anchoring fundamental rights in law (JEREMY SHARON, 4/11/23, Times of Israel)

Negotiation teams for the coalition and opposition parties over the government's controversial judicial overhaul program discussed the possibility of anchoring in law fundamental civil rights on Monday, amid efforts to hammer out a compromise on the shake-up bid.

Such a measure is a key demand of the Yesh Atid party and other opposition factions for any comprehensive solution to the political and constitutional storm that has erupted over the coalition's plans to radically constrain Israel's judicial system.

Excellent discussion here of how we got to this point and what might, hopefully, come of it:

PODCAST: Daniel Gordis on Israel and Impossible Takes Longer (Russ Roberts, Apr 10 2023, EconTalk)

As Israel turns 75, has it fulfilled the promise of its founders? Daniel Gordis of Shalem College talks about his book, Impossible Takes Longer, with EconTalk's Russ Roberts looking at the successes and failures of Israel. Topics discussed include the history of Zionism, the plight of the Palestinians, the Jewishness of the Jewish state, and the current debate in Israel over judicial reform.

As the State of Israel turns 75, author Daniel Gordis asks: Is it a success story?In a new book, 'Impossible Takes Longer,' the thinker explores the parameters he believes the Jewish state should be judged by -- and where it has triumphed and where it has failed (AMY SPIRO , 4/11/23, Times of Israel)

"What I was trying to do was to elevate the conversation about Israel at the time of its 75th anniversary," says Gordis. "The point was really to say, look - the point of the State of Israel was to create a new Jew. It was to reimagine what it would mean to be a Jew, it was to reimagine a Jew who was not weak, and nervous and diasporic, and never at home and not having their own language."

And 75 years later, he says, "we have been so unbelievably successful in meeting those challenges, that it's very hard for many of us - especially younger people - to remember what it was that we were trying to change. Because it was so overwhelmingly successful."

While Gordis sings Israel's praises loudly and emphatically, he also doesn't hold back on criticism. He calls the Sabra and Shatilla massacre an "appalling moral failure," laments that "corruption in Israel has reached staggering proportions," and says the Jewish state "stumbled badly" in its treatment of Ethiopian immigrants and has not just "fallen short" but "failed" in dealing with African migrants. Furthermore, the Chief Rabbinate, he writes, is "anti-intellectual... untouched by modernity, misogynist, corrupt... and often morally vile."

But its biggest failing, he writes, is the one that looms large over every conversation and headline about the Jewish state.

"The single greatest disappointment of Israel's first seventy-five years is the fact that conflict endures," Gordis writes. "Israel's various wars and its enduring conflict with the Palestinians have exacted horrific costs on both sides. Israel's controlling the lives of another people is a moral morass that has without question calloused parts of Israeli society. Waging this war, even if it is a low-grade war, invariably leads to mistakes and at times terrible misdeeds."

In conversation, Gordis says he worked to find a balance between praising Israel for its victories and criticizing the state for where it has failed.

Posted by at April 11, 2023 12:00 AM