JERUSALEM — It was supposed to be a passing of the torch, yet another
solemn state ceremony at the president’s residence in Jerusalem. But the
retirement last week of Israel’s
chief justice and the swearing in of her successor turned into a kind
of Rorschach inkblot test about the nature of Israeli democracy.
What happened was this: after the departing chief justice, Dorit Beinisch, issued her final rulings at the court and made her farewell speech — her eyes tearing as she recalled the deaths of grandparents in the Holocaust — she, her colleagues and others gathered at the president’s house for more speeches, rising at the end to sing the national anthem.
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