Israel Has Dodged a Constitutional Crisis, but Only Temporarily

Two weeks ago, then-Speaker of the Knesset Yuli Edelstein refused to hold a vote for his replacement, insisting that, in keeping with precedent, the new speaker should only be chosen after a governing coalition has been formed. As his move prevented the newly installed Israeli parliament from resuming its normal business, the Supreme Court tried to break the impasse with two unprecedented interventions into the legislative branch. To Evelyn Gordon, Edelstein acted out of a “genuine and serious concern” about constitutionally questionable moves by his opponents, even if the court was justified in its order that elections for the new speaker take place.

But then the court took things one step further by taking it upon itself to name a temporary speaker to oversee the election of Edelstein’s replacement:

It’s impossible to overstate how outrageous this is. First, the ruling flagrantly violated the Basic Law [concerning the operations of the Knesset], which the court itself deems constitutional legislation. This law mandates a single Knesset speaker, but the court created two speakers serving simultaneously: Edelstein, who [by this point had resigned but] by law retained full powers [for two days] until his resignation took effect, and the temporary speaker, whose authority would be limited to holding a vote on a new speaker.

Anyone who cares about democracy should be appalled by this. And the fact that leftists overwhelmingly supported it shows that their professed concern for “democracy” is mere camouflage; what they want is a judicial dictatorship.

Just before the conflict between the legislative and judicial branches came to a head, Benny Gantz intervened by announcing that he and Benjamin Netanyahu would form a unity government, thus diffusing crisis. But, Gordon continues, the constitutional questions will undoubtedly resurface:

[I]f rightists were angry at the High Court before, they’re furious now. Whenever the next election is, this will be a voting issue. If the right wins, it will pass legislation to restrain the court. And since the court won’t let its excessive power be curbed without a fight, it will undoubtedly retaliate by declaring the legislation unconstitutional.

In other words, the constitutional crisis has merely been postponed, not resolved. And it’s likely to get very ugly before it’s over.

Read more at JNS

More about: Benjamin Netanyahu, Benny Gantz, Israeli politics, Israeli Supreme Court, Knesset

The IDF’s First Investigation of Its Conduct on October 7 Is Out

For several months, the Israel Defense Forces has been investigating its own actions on and preparedness for October 7, with an eye to understanding its failures. The first of what are expected to be many reports stemming from this investigation was released yesterday, and it showed a series of colossal strategic and tactical errors surrounding the battle at Kibbutz Be’eri, writes Emanuel Fabian. The probe, he reports, was led by Maj. Gen. (res.) Mickey Edelstein.

Edelstein and his team—none of whom had any involvement in the events themselves, according to the IDF—spent hundreds of hours investigating the onslaught and battle at Be’eri, reviewing every possible source of information, from residents’ WhatsApp messages to both Israeli and Hamas radio communications, as well as surveillance videos, aerial footage, interviews of survivors and those who fought, plus visits to the scene.

There will be a series of further reports issued this summer.

IDF chief Halevi in a statement issued alongside the probe said that while this was just the first investigation into the onslaught, which does not reflect the entire picture of October 7, it “clearly illustrates the magnitude of the failure and the dimensions of the disaster that befell the residents of the south who protected their families with their bodies for many hours, and the IDF was not there to protect them.” . . .

The IDF hopes to present all battle investigations by the end of August.

The IDF’s probes are strictly limited to its own conduct. For a broader look at what went wrong, Israel will have to wait for a formal state commission of inquiry to be appointed—which happens to be the subject of this month’s featured essay in Mosaic.

Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Gaza War 2023, IDF, Israel & Zionism, October 7