Whereas Israel’s voters have been moving to the nationalist and
religious right, most of its top judges have clung to a more liberal and
secular view of the world. On November 10th Salim Joubran, one of three
Supreme Court judges deciding the fate of the country’s former
president, Moshe Katzav, upheld his conviction for rape. Almost no
Israeli batted an eyelid, even though the judge who dispatched the
eighth head of the Jewish state off to jail was an Arab, from a
community that now makes up one in five of Israeli citizens.
Liberal Israelis, however, complain that legislators in Binyamin
Netanyahu’s ruling national-religious coalition are seeking to destroy
this pluralistic ethos in the courts, as well as in other institutions
of state, including the armed forces and civil service. In particular,
worried liberals cite a series of bills apparently designed to promote
right-wingers to the Supreme Court.
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