Israel Made Me Do It - July 24, 2023

I feel compelled to write even though I’m still on sabbatical

as important events are transpiring in Israel.



I am processing the Israeli Knesset (parliament) decision from earlier today. The Knesset eliminated the Israeli Supreme Court’s ability to review the “reasonableness” of government decisions and appointments. What does it mean for the people of Israel? How far will this government go in their hopes for additional “judicial reform.” What it will mean for US-Israel relations. And so much more.


I believe David Horovitz, editor of The Times of Israel, said it best. Netanyahu “tragically chose the unity of his hardline coalition over his manifest key responsibility as prime minister: the unity of the nation.” That is exactly what happened.


Israel, like America, is a deeply divided country. Those in power feel as though they have a mandate, whether true or not. There is broad consensus that changes are needed in how the judiciary functions, but a 64-0 vote, with no one in the opposition even staying to vote is not how decisions impacting a country should be made.


The Israel Policy Forum shared, “This is not merely a policy decision that should be left to a Knesset majority on the theory that elections have consequences; it is a reordering of Israel’s governing institutions and its system of checks and balances. Such moves carry grave risks when done without a meaningful consensus that runs across ideological and partisan lines.”


Protests have taken place in Israel for the past 29 weeks. As you know, I was there in March and April and participated in the protests each time. And less than 10 days ago, I was in Israel with my family.


For both my children, this was their first trip. And my wife had not been to Israel since our honeymoon almost three decades ago. This was an opportunity for my family to see Israel together. What did they get out of their visit? The mood in Israel was so tense (it is always interesting to listen to taxi drivers share their views) that neither of my children even talked about the occupation when we got home, despite their concerns prior to going. All they talked about was the current government and their feelings of being less close to Israel. It is devastating to me!


As someone mentioned on a podcast about leadership in any organization – you have a choice. You can believe you are right or be effective. The current majority government in Israel may think their reforms to the judiciary are correct, but can this government effectively lead the people of Israel going forward? And can they effectively rally world support and that of Diaspora Jewry?


This story is far from over. We will (as will the world) watch closely as things unfold in Israel in the days ahead.


Earlier today, you received an email about an important webinar, Israel at a Crossroads, tomorrow at 9:00 am Portland time. I encourage you to register here.


I look forward to sharing later next week once I am back in the office.



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