US conservative rabbis: Don't let Israeli gov't destroy justice system

justice Minister Yariv Levin presented his reform proposal for the justice system which includes the High Court override clause.

 President of the Supreme Court Esther Hayut and Supreme court Justices arrive for a court hearing on petitions demanding the annulment of the appointment of Shas leader Aryeh Deri as a government Minister due to his recent conviction on tax offenses, at the Supreme Court in Jerusalem. (photo credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90)
President of the Supreme Court Esther Hayut and Supreme court Justices arrive for a court hearing on petitions demanding the annulment of the appointment of Shas leader Aryeh Deri as a government Minister due to his recent conviction on tax offenses, at the Supreme Court in Jerusalem.
(photo credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90)

The Rabbinical Assembly, the international association of Conservative and Masorti rabbis in the US, issued a letter on Wednesday blasting Justice Minister Yariv Levin’s proposed judicial reforms.

“We must do all we can to not allow the incoming government to damage the court for political gain,” the letter reads. “We are deeply alarmed by the attempted subversion of the authority of Israel’s High Court by newly appointed Israeli Justice Minister Yariv Levin and his government.”

The letter continues, “Israel flourishes as the Middle East’s only democracy, guaranteed and sustained by an independent High Court. The timing of this new bill is transparently self-serving for those in power and risks weakening the Jewish and democratic character of Israel. It is excruciating to see this government directly undermine the core values of democracy and religious freedom that we value so deeply.”

The Rabbinical Assembly emphasized, “We must do all we can to not allow the incoming government to damage the court for political gain.” It called on lawmakers to “speak out against these measures and others like them: the integrity of the State of Israel and the well-being of the entire Jewish people hang in the balance.”

The Assembly will continue to advocate to preserve Israel's democracy

They added that they would “continue to advocate against these measures and others like them in order to preserve Israel as the democratic and Jewish nation envisioned 75 years ago by the country’s founders and for generations to come.”

 Likud Head MK Benjamin Netanyahu speaks with MK Yariv Levin during a vote for the new Knesset speaker at the assembly hall of the Knesset, the Israeli parliament in Jerusalem, on December 13, 2022. (credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90) Likud Head MK Benjamin Netanyahu speaks with MK Yariv Levin during a vote for the new Knesset speaker at the assembly hall of the Knesset, the Israeli parliament in Jerusalem, on December 13, 2022. (credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90)

“The RA proudly stands for the rights of all and champions the integrity and independence of the High Court, which has historically safeguarded minority rights against the threat of tyranny by the majority,” the Rabbinical Assembly continued.

“The justice minister’s interference with judicial review and particularly the proposed ‘override clause’ not only threaten the fundamental rights of Masorti/Conservative Jews everywhere, but the rights of all Israel’s citizens and residents, regardless of their affiliation to any particular religious movement, nationality of origin, or ethnic background.”

The Rabbinical Assembly