As a proud member of the Knesset from the Likud party, I stand firmly behind the proposed reforms to Israel’s judicial system. These changes, which aim to strengthen democracy and make the judiciary more reflective of our diverse nation, are critical to our country’s future.
However, I also recognize that the intense debate surrounding these reforms has exposed deep divisions within our society. The pause of the legislative process announced by Prime Minister Netanyahu presents to us all a unique opportunity to address the underlying concerns of all Israelis.
Our nation is at a crossroads. The current conversation surrounding the role of the judicial system is not just about the courts, but rather the hopes and fears of every citizen, their faith in democracy, and their belief in the sanctity of their chosen lifestyle.
Secular Israelis worry about religious coercion, Mizrahim feel unrepresented in the courts, religious Zionists question how much their voices matter in the current democratic process, and the ultra-Orthodox feel their lifestyle is being attacked by the courts. These concerns are about more than the proposed reforms; they reveal the deeper divides within our society.
Israel must come together for honest, open discussion about the future
It is time for Israel to come together and have an honest and open discussion about the future of our nation. Born and raised in Canada, a flourishing democracy by all accounts, I had the privilege of seeing firsthand the process of the Bouchard-Taylor Commission in Quebec. The Bouchard-Taylor Commission was founded in 2007 in order to address concerns surrounding reasonable accommodations for cultural and religious minorities in Quebec.
Through public hearings, it sought the opinions and concerns of various groups in society, thereby fostering dialogue and understanding between different communities. The commission was a success that allowed a real, candid dialogue.
WE HAVE the ability and the opportunity to bring this sort of initiative to fruition in Israel as well. A similar commission could be established. It would travel throughout Israel, engaging with different sectors of society and addressing their deepest fears and aspirations. Through dialogue, we can demonstrate to the world, and to ourselves, that we are a diverse, vibrant and united nation, despite all that has been said in recent months.
The objective of this commission will not be to reach a consensus but to provide a platform for every voice to be heard. It will reveal that those who support the reforms do so not do so out of a desire for coercion, but out of a deep commitment to the strengthening of our democracy.
Also, it will demonstrate that those opposing the reforms are motivated by genuine concern for their way of life, not a desire to dominate others. By engaging in this dialogue, we can build bridges of understanding and strengthen the bonds that unite us as Israelis.
I believe that the proposed judicial reforms are essential to the health of Israel’s democracy. They are a critical step toward a more representative, accountable judiciary that empowers the people of Israel to shape their own destiny.
This commitment to democracy, however, must go hand-in-hand with a commitment to Jewish unity. By engaging in an open, honest dialogue, we can address the fears and concerns of our fellow citizens, and build a brighter, more united future for Israel.
During this pause, let us seize the opportunity to bring our nation together. Let us not shy away from difficult conversations, but embrace them with open hearts and open minds. Let us stand united as one people, ready to engage with one another in pursuit of a shared vision for Israel’s future.
Together, we can usher in a new era of understanding, democracy, and unity – for the sake of our children, our grandchildren, and the generations to come. Our future is in our hands, and together we must guarantee it. Together and only together can we keep this miracle alive. It is our mission and we all must take part in it.
The writer is a Likud MK.