(11 February 2023)


Declaration of Opinion

We, presidents and retired judges of the Supreme Court, express dismay at the government’s plan for changes in the legal system. The program seriously threatens not only the legal system

but also the essence of the government and the ways of life in Israel, and especially the possibility to fairly and efficiently protect the fundamental rights of every person. We consider it our duty to warn of the danger before it comes true.

We are convinced that the legal system in Israel is a good system, that has advanced society to impressive achievements and protected the country’s fundamental values, and it is highly regarded outside of Israel as well. With that, we also recognize that the judicial system, like any other body, may benefit from a home inspection that can reveal what needs to be corrected, and we have no doubt that it will be ready to make repairs, as needed after a proper examination.

But, even without referring to the details of the plan that the government is promoting, we are strongly opposed to the way the program is being advanced. The proposed changes in the plan require substantial amendments not only to the ordinary laws but also to the Basic Laws which are the infrastructure on which the government is built.  Such corrections require an early, official, and open inspection, that will thoroughly clarify the existing situation and the need for changing the situation. This is accepted practice in Israel, even regarding minor changes. But such an inspection was not conducted before the governmental proposal was published. The plan was not even checked by the government offices. The proposed changes, with no such inspection, is causing serious and dangerous polarization in society and may spell disaster for Israel.

That is why we appeal to the government to stop advancing the plan that was published. There is no urgency for changing the arrangements that have always existed in the country, and there is no justification for panic in advancing the plan. We propose to the government that it lend a hand to the establishment of a public committee with a fitting composition of public figures and subject experts so that a thorough and transparent examination of the existing situation will be carried out: it will collect data and invite opinion; allow the general public to express an opinion and make suggestions; and weigh the expected repercussions of the entire proposal. On the basis of such an examination, it will be possible to formulate conclusions and present recommendations to the public, to the government and to the Knesset, and to carry out the required corrections in the legal system in a well-founded and responsible manner. In this way it will be possible to introduce corrections based on a broad consensus in society, as is appropriate for this important and sensitive matter.

Theodor Or Dalia Dorner Meni Mazuz

Yitzhak Englard Yoram Danziger Hanan Meltzer

Edna Arbel Neal Hendel Ayala Procaccia

Dorit Beinisch Yitzhak Zamir George Karra

Aharon Barak Yaakov Turkel Elyakim Rubinstein

Salim Joubran Shlomo Levin Tova Strasberg-Cohen

The list of judges does not include retired judges currently serving in state positions.