On Monday, the Knesset passed an amendment to Israel’s Basic Law stating that courts cannot countermand a ministerial decision or override a ministerial appointment on grounds of unreasonableness. The measure has set off intense protests in Israel, as well as condemnations and expressions of concern from Democratic politicians in the U.S. The editors of the New York Sun comment:
President Biden’s reaction—to lecture the Israeli leader that a measure of such magnitude shouldn’t be allowed to squeak by—is condescending nonsense, particularly from a president who gained passage of his own economic program by slim votes.
The most impressive thing about the drama unfolding in Israel, though, is Israel’s democracy itself. The protests have gone on, the press is at full tilt, and the scene in the Knesset was as raucous as could be.
In other words, democracy is functioning as it should. No mass arrests. No one is being “disappeared.” Democracy is often messy, and one could say the more turbulent, the more democratic. Yet, save for some isolated incidents, there has been little violence over this in Israel.
The truth is that what we’re seeing in Israel is what one would expect from any healthy democracy or any country of laws. And why not? This is a fight over laws that are being made or reformed. Those refusing to defend the county or those physicians who protest by betraying the Hippocratic oath will, if there are violations for civil disobedience, be held accountable by the laws of the country. They are unlikely to have a major impact on the outcome.