The Takeaways of a Failed Constitutional Revolution: An Opinion

Born in a firestorm, it died on ice. The constitutional revolution that happened a year ago when Justice Minister Yariv Levin unveiled its 11-clause blueprint was put to rest on Monday. The High Court nullified the lone clause Levin managed to make law. The deceased plan aimed to limit the court’s power, change the judges’ selection process, cancel the court’s power to challenge executive decisions as unreasonable, and disempower every ministry’s legal adviser. The court’s main point was that they have no reason to treat a Basic Law differently than a regular law.

The reform ignored the consensus, divided the people, and let the majority erase the minority. The war on the judiciary deployed three divisions: the royalists, the separatists, and the zealots. The constitutional principle was lost on Levin, whose aim was not to empower the people, as constitutions are designed to do, but to disempower the courts.

Levin thought that with a majority in the Knesset, he could do whatever he pleased, only to see Middle Israel shake the country to its core and force Netanyahu to put the plan in the freezer, where it has now died. A frustrated Levin tabled that lone clause, even when he saw multitudes rallying in the streets, led by much of the industrial, economic, academic, cultural, and defense-establishment elites.

The Israeli consensus exists, and it is the reason we won the wars of the past and will win the current war. Nothing big can be done in Israel without a broad consensus. After the war, Israel will face enormous reconstruction tasks, and the choice will be ours. If we face them in Yariv Levin’s way, as a federation of antagonistic tribes and sects, we will end up in the dustbin. Conversely, if we rebuild inspired by fraternity, the sky will be the limit.