Israelis protest against the government’s planned judicial overhaul, outside the Supreme Court in Jerusalem, March 27, 2023. (Photo/JTA-Jamal Awad-Flash90)
Israelis protest against the government’s planned judicial overhaul, outside the Supreme Court in Jerusalem, March 27, 2023. (Photo/JTA-Jamal Awad-Flash90)

Judicial reform, for and against; ‘Cinemagogue’

Sign up for Weekday J and get the latest on what's happening in the Jewish Bay Area.


Judicial reform won’t destroy Israel

Offir Gutelzon’s hyperbole about Israel “being destroyed” does not change the fact that Israel recently held a fair democratic election in which the majority supported judicial reform which was part of the winning Netanyahu coalition’s platform. (“Israeli expats gather in S.F. to protest latest moves by Netanyahu,” March 28).

The reality in Israel today — which is why judicial reform was part of the Netanyahu coalition’s platform — is that the current judicial selection process is decided by a committee that is controlled by the sitting judges. Three members of the “committee” are sitting judges. Several additional members are lawyers who are supplicants before those sitting judges because they appear before them. This combination has veto power over the judicial selection process regardless of who the rest of the committee is. There is no final check and balance by the legislative or executive branch. It is the equivalent of Amy Coney Barrett deciding who the next U.S. Supreme Court Justice would be. The Netanyahu coalition’s proposals will bring a semblance of checks and balances to a perversely unbalanced judicial selection process.

Richard Sherman
Margate, Florida

Editor’s note: Israel’s Supreme Court appointment committee includes the justice minister, another cabinet minister, three Supreme Court justices, two Knesset members and two Israel Bar Association members.


Courts protect minorities

Letter-writer Dave Harris (“Israel needs judicial reform,” March 29) has it all wrong. The purpose of a judicial system is not so much to “augment democracy” as he puts it, but to protect the rights of minorities. Without the Bill of Rights in the U.S., an elected majority can run roughshod over minorities and in effect become just another form of mob rule. The courts are the only check on majority rule abusing the rights of minorities.

Dan Crouch
Oakland


‘Cinemagogue’

The local Chabad’s move to the Empire Theater in West Portal (“Chabad brings new life to S.F. cinema with a Jewish backstory,” March 22) gives meaning to the word cinemagogue. 

Alan Wald
San Francisco

J. Readers

J. welcomes letters and comments from our readers. To submit a letter, email it to [email protected].