Dr. Michael Sarel, head of the economic forum at the Kohelet Forum, the think tank that is often credited or blamed for inspiring many of the ideas of the coalition's planned judicial reforms, criticized the initial reform bill package in an interview with the Knesset Channel.
After talking about the way the judicial reform was initially presented by its proponents, Sarel said that "It is possible that the present situation [of the judicial system] is not good, but this does not mean that the proposed reform is excellent, because it had many flaws and could have led to serious damage to the separation of powers and given absolute power to 61 members of the Knesset."
Sarel went on to compare the logical flaws in the arguments of the reforms' proponents to those of the protesters against the reform, saying that "The reform is horrible, so it's forbidden to change anything - this is exactly the same mistake, of the same kind, only exactly in the other direction."
The economist warned that "The situation that it's forbidden to change anything in the judicial system is also not stable for the economy, because it's clear that this will continue to lead to instability and to repeated attempts by the current coalition and by future coalitions, now and in the future, to change things."
No stability in the economy or in politics
"On the other hand, it is also not a stable situation for the judiciary and the economy, because there are a lot of economic decisions made by the judicial system, that should be made by elected representatives that can be changed or whose mandate can be renewed by the public... therefore, the current situation isn't good economically and isn't stable politically," Sarel concluded.
This isn't the first time Sarel expressed scepticism regarding the judicial reform. In March, Sarel warned in a letter that the reforms would impact the economy because they would harm the country’s separation of powers and its system of checks and balances. He said there is a need for judicial reform, but the proposed one constitutes overkill.
“The proposed reform will create a situation in which there will be no separation of powers, in that it subordinates the legal system to the will of the coalition,” he wrote. “Through government ministers, the coalition will be able to ignore the advice of the legal advisers and advance policies as it sees fit.”
Regarding the economic implications, he continued: “If the reform paves the way to severe damage to liberal democracy, in the medium term there will also be severe damage to the economy. Furthermore, since investors’ and consumers’ expectations for the future affect the economy in the present, the harm to the economy will precede the harm to democracy.”
Herb Keinon contributed to this story.