The Executive Council of Australian Jewry (ECAJ) and Zionist Federation of Australia (ZFA) have issued an unprecedented joint statement calling for a pause in Israel’s legislative blitz around judicial reform to enable dialogue to take place.
“The Australian Jewish community is a deeply Zionist community,” ECAJ president Jillian Segal and ZFA president Jeremy Leibler said.
“We celebrate Israel’s successes and achievements. We defend Israel against the irrational hatred that is sadly increasingly pervasive throughout the world.
“We recognise and respect that, being in the diaspora, we have different rights, but we are also deeply invested in Israel’s survival and the wellbeing of all Israelis and the Jewish people,” they continued.
“It is from this position of unconditional love and connection that we express our serious concern at the governing coalition’s proposals to make fundamental changes to the relationship between the Knesset and the judiciary with undue haste and in the absence of broad-based public support.
“We also view with deep concern other proposals in relation to religious pluralism and the law of return that risk damaging Israel’s precious and unique relationship with Diaspora Jewry.”
Israeli President Isaac Herzog said on Monday that “behind-the-scenes” talks were moving ahead and that the sides were “closer than ever” to reaching a compromise agreement.
Hundreds of thousands of people rallied throughout Israel on Saturday in the ninth straight weekend of protests against the government’s efforts to radically transform the judiciary, with some 160,000 estimated in Tel Aviv alone. Protest leaders announced that this Thursday, March 9 will be the next “day of disruptions” around the country.
The weekly protests started shortly after Justice Minister Yariv Levin announced the proposals to curtail Israel’s judiciary.
Critics say the proposed overhaul will weaken Israel’s democratic character, remove a key element of its checks and balances, and leave minorities unprotected. Supporters say it is a much-needed reform to rein in an activist High Court.
With Times of Israel