Podcast: Simcha Rothman on Reforming Israel’s Justice System

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There are major concerns facing Israel’s democracy today. Some have to do with voting and Israel’s system of electoral representation. Others relate to Israel’s judiciary. Champions of the current configuration of the Israeli judiciary believe that its famous independence is a necessary check on the legislature, and that it exercises proper authority in checking and repealing illegitimate laws. Critics, on the other hand, assert that Israel’s supreme court has no right to undo laws that were passed by democratically elected members of the Knesset. Since Israel has no constitution, they ask, on what basis can an Israeli court assert that a law is illegitimate?

This debate, one of the biggest in Israeli society today, will likely be at the top of the agenda for the incoming government. This podcast’s guest, Member of Knesset Simcha Rothman, is one of the most important players in that debate, a central architect of the effort to reform Israel’s judiciary. In conversation with Mosaic’s editor, Jonathan Silver, he explains how Israel’s judiciary got stronger over time, why so many have sought to change it in recent years, and what changes he hopes to put into law.

Musical selections in this podcast are drawn from the Quintet for Clarinet and Strings, op. 31a, composed by Paul Ben-Haim and performed by the ARC Ensemble.

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