Wednesday, June 10, 2009

What happened behind the scenes in the Knesset?

A lot of excitement went on behind the scenes in the Knesset this past week that was completely missed by almost all of the Israeli press.

The Knesset voted this week on who its representatives would be on the Judicial Appointments Committee.

The JAC is composed of 9 members, including an MK from the government and an MK from the opposition.

The makeup of this committee is important, as Israel will soon be selecting new Supreme Court justices, and this is a unique opportunity to open up the Supreme Court to justices who do not exclusively follow in the footsteps of Aharon Barak's far left and judicial activism policies - something the Supreme Court has been stacked with these past years.

The Knesset voted for the candidates in a secret ballot.

Representing the opposition candidates were Kadima's Roni Bar-On and Ichud Leumi's Uri Ariel.

Leading up to the elections, Kadima was loudly claiming that the opposition candidate selected must come from the largest opposition party in the Knesset.

This led to the absurd situation where Likud's Ruby Rivlin stated that he would vote for the left-wing Kadima's candidate. Ditto for Likud's Michael Eitan, and possibly Benny Begin too!

This led to other horse-trading back-door deals with the religious parties regarding the committee appointees for the religious courts.

In short, the left-wing Kadima party's candidate should have been a shoe-in, which meant the opportunity to finally balance the Judiciary would have been much more difficult, if not impossible.

But among other things, and unlike Kadima's claim, opposition candidates only came from the largest opposition party 3 times in the past 17 Knessets - and not every time as they claimed.

In the end, everyone started accusing of Kadima of lying and breaking the back-door deals (Bayit Yehudi's candidate suffered a surprise loss to UTJ's in the religious court committee) - which ultimately backfired and resulted in the Kadima candidate losing.

But again, that isn't the whole story of what actually went on behind the scenes.

This committee selection was actually going to happen very quietly. Kadima's candidate was a done deal, and the Right was actually going to throw away the opportunity to unstack the Judicial deck.

Until along came activist Susie Dym with her Mattot Arim organization, and started ringing the fire bells.

She woke up the Likud MKs to the real facts and significance of the vote.

But more importantly, she woke up the citizens and got them involved.

In the period of a few hours, relevant Likud Knesset members received a tremendous number SMSes demanding that they do not vote for the Left wing parties candidate in the opposition.

In fact, they received so many (rumor has it at more than 100,000), the Likud MKs contacted Susie Dym, and begged her to get her activists to stop SMSing (which she did).

Sources indicate, that more than anything else, it was this Shock&Awe SMS campaign that woke up the Likud Mks to the importance of this vote, and for voting the right way.

Concerned Citizen Activism at its best.

Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael טובה הארץ מאד מאד


Anonymous said...

This is only a first, small step in breaking the Left's control of the Court.

Phil Dines said...

Aharon Barak outlined his theory of proportionality as the basis for broad judicial discretion in a lecture he delivered in Oxford on 4 June.

Further details are available at

JoeSettler said...

You got to love it: "Professor Barak, who is regarded by some legal scholars as the world's greatest living jurist,"

Meanwhile he is proposing that democratically elected representatives be stripped of their power, and they be given to to the Judges!

"Barak argued for a broad level of judicial discretion, while cautioning against the excessive use of executive power"

Exactly why we need more judicial reform, and a reshuffling of the Barak stacked, homogeneous Supreme Court.

ODannyBoy said...

"Professor Barak, who is regarded by some legal scholars as the world's greatest living jurist"

Presumably he wrote that sentence himself.

NormanF said...

Its important to end judicial activism in Israel and restore the Knesset's authority over the courts and the supreme sovereign in Israel. Changing the composition of the courts will both make them more reflective of the population's beliefs as well as strengthen the rule of law in Israel.

A Soldier's Mother said...

NormanF said: Its important to end judicial activism in Israel and restore the Knesset's authority over the courts and the supreme sovereign in Israel.

I say...huh?

Why would we want to stop "judicial activism"? How better to make our voices heard with our representatives than to respond when we see something happening that we don't agree with.

This is a great example of democracy at its highest level. Kol Hakavod to us!

JoeSettler said...

"Judicial Activism" is when the courts and judges take on powers beyond those normally mandated or permitted them.

Nachum said...

So it's a good thing that Ihud Leumi didn't join the coaltion, then? Otherwise they couldn't have gotten this slot.

JoeSettler said...

Nachum: Life is funny that way.

There's a story in the news today about some lady in Tel Aviv who wanted to do something nice for her mother.

So she bought her a brand new bed and threw out the old one.

Only problem is that the mother didn't trust banks, and had stored a million dollars in the mattress!

They eventually found the mattress in the garbage dump. But it was ripped open and the money was gone!

Man plans, God laughs.

Anonymous said...

this is a great story.

Kol haKavod Mrs. Dym.
May you go from chayil to chayil.
in promoting the good of the Jewish people.
Has anything like this ever been done before in Israel i.e. mass pressure on elected officials to actually get them to listen to the will of the people.

This should be done much more often.

Maybe this is why the Israeli govt has never been too keen on American ALiyah, with AMerican activism it might cause this country to become more a government of the people by the people and for the people instead of a govt of for and by those who are the most obnoxious pushy and egomaniacky.

Anonymous said...


A beautiful story! And, also, it can be noticed that if Bibi gets the backing of a majority of Israeli citizens, Barack Obama can go and dump his requests in a hat!

As an AMerican, I happen to know Obama took Saudi money (which gave him the cash to take on Hillary). And, Cairo was the Saud's rattling his chains.

What if Bibi holds true to his book, which was written more than a dozen years ago? Where he laid out for democracies, how they could fight terror and WIN.

What if Sunday holds another teaching lesson? You think Obama can just make faces? Or lift his feet up on his desk for a photo-op?

If Israeli MK's can feel themselves challenged when citizens get "restive," why discount such an outcome in America?

Anonymous said...


Oh, Danny Boy, that's fabulous!

Aharon Barak and Sonia Sotomayor have so much in common! (Including, but not limited to, the "special" dispensation given to Latina women. For this? Aharon Barak could cut off his testicles. What a trade off that would be.)

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