WASHINGTON – The Jewish Federations of North America on Tuesday urged Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Opposition Leader Yair Lapid “to embrace the proposal set forth by Israel's President Isaac Herzog to consider and resolve issues around judicial reform.”
It is the first time that JFNA, the largest Jewish organization in North America, addresses the issue.
In an open letter that was sent to Netanyahu and Lapid, with copies to all Party leaders as well as President Isaac Herzog, JFNA urged that “a 61-seat Knesset majority should not be allowed to override Supreme Court decisions.”
What did they write in the letter?
“The Jewish Federations of North America have a deep and abiding love for the State of Israel,” the group wrote in a letter. “We rejoice at its growth and accomplishments, we pray for its safety and success, and we have, from long before the birth of the state to this very day, done everything within our ability to assist its government and people.”
“Our support for the State of Israel is unconditional and eternal,” the letter reads. “It is because of this love and support that we have been following closely the increasingly acrimonious debate over the governing coalition’s proposals to make fundamental changes in the relationship between the Knesset and the Supreme Court, especially the proposal to allow the Knesset to overturn decisions of the Supreme Court with a majority of just sixty-one votes.”
“We write to each of you, the leaders of the government and the opposition, for two reasons,” JFNA wrote. “First, we urge you each to fully embrace the proposals set forth by the President of Israel, Isaac Herzog, to set a course for the consideration and resolution of these issues. President Herzog has the respect and admiration of Jews around the world, as do both of you.”
Whatever the final resolution of these issues, they wrote, “this process will ensure that the views of all stakeholders are fully considered.”
“Second, we urge you to make clear that a simple majority of the Knesset is not sufficient to override a decision of the Supreme Court,” the letter reads. “The essence of democracy is both majority rule and protection of minority rights. We recognize that any system of checks and balances will be different than those in our own countries, but such a dramatic change to the Israeli system of governance will have far-reaching consequences in North America, both within the Jewish community and in the broader society,” they wrote.