Joint Statement: Yesterday’s Decision Was Unreasonable

We are deeply troubled and saddened by the passage of the reasonableness law, approved by a narrow majority of the Knesset, which strips the Israeli Supreme Court of its ability to use “reasonableness” when evaluating government decisions and appointments.

We hold democracy as a sacred value, and a strong and independent judiciary is a crucial component. Our history reminds us that democratic institutions must be protected for Jews and all historically disadvantaged communities to thrive. Any reforms to the judiciary must reflect a broad consensus of Israeli citizens.

The way this law was passed has deeply divided and wounded Israeli society—ignoring the hundreds of thousands of Israelis across the political spectrum who rallied against it for months, as well as overwhelming calls for compromise, including by President Herzog and President Biden.

While narrower in scope than a prior package of judicial reforms that stalled in the spring, it limits the Israeli judiciary’s power and erodes Israel’s system of checks and balances. We also take leading coalition members at their word when they state that this is only the first step in a plan to push for additional reforms. These changes could further undermine Israel’s liberal democracy and negatively impact the protection and treatment of minorities.

This process has already caused real harm to two things we hold dear: the US-Israel relationship and the shared peoplehood of American and Israeli Jews. We fear that the process is inflicting needless damage to Israel’s economy, security, and standing in the world.

Given that today’s vote is likely a harbinger of things to come, in the months ahead, JCRC and the Federation will update the community soon on new efforts to support Israel's liberal democracy.




Categories: Israel, Leadership


July 25, 2023


Joy Sisisky