Proponents of turning the judicial overhaul crisis into the opportunity for the writing of a constitution may try to use Monday’s pause in legislation to push for this proposal.
Following Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s legislation freeze until the Knesset’s summer session, specifically of the Judicial Selection Committee bill, opposition leader Yair Lapid called for the writing of a constitution.
Yair Lapid's response
“The State of Israel is wounded and in pain,” Lapid said on Monday. “We don’t need to put plasters on the wounds, but really treat them. Toward the 75th year of the state, we must sit down together and write a constitution based on the values of the Declaration of Independence.”
Lapid had previously called for the establishment of a constitution based on the declaration in a March 10 Facebook post. In the social media post, the Yesh Atid leader had also described the document as a solution to the underlying ills afflicting Israeli society.
Proposing the idea in a speech in response to the prime minister could work to raise it in the public consciousness far more than a social media post.
The entirety of the first response of the Israel Democracy Institute to the delay was devoted to the idea of writing a constitution.
“The delay in the legislation provides an opportunity for the prime minister and the leaders of the coalition and opposition parties to listen to the voices of the public and turn this crisis into a historic constitutional moment,” IDI said in a Monday statement. “In preparation for Passover, the rights of all of us are anchored in a constitutional arrangement and a broad consensus.”
Like Lapid, the institute called for the constitution to be based on the values of the Declaration of Independence, emphasizing the need to enshrine human rights and equality.
IDI also called to include in the constitution “professionalism” in the Judicial Selection Committee, which is one of the more sensitive issues of judicial reform.
The NGO had first proposed to renew Israel’s constitutional process on February 13. Instead of writing a constitution when the state was established, a process was developed in which Basic Laws would be slowly introduced and assembled into a constitution at an undetermined date.
On Tuesday morning, in response to the placement of the Judicial Selection Committee on the Knesset table, the Movement for Quality Government in Israel reiterated its ultimate objective of a constitution.
“We will continue to fight for our democracy until a constitution is established for the homeland,” said the MQG..
The movement announced a complete written proposal for the “homeland constitution” on March 9.
As coalition and opposition members begin negotiations, it will remain to be seen if the idea of a constitution will be raised – or if, until now, it was merely a response to active legislation.