Israel Might be Becoming the New Hungary

Israel’s new right-wing coalition government has proposed an overhaul of the judicial system, which includes limiting the power of the High Court of Justice and giving politicians more influence over the selection of judges. Advocates contend that the modifications will bring balance back to a system they allege is controlled by judges with a left-leaning bias. However, critics see it as a power grab that could limit civil society groups’ ability to litigate on behalf of minorities and give more leverage to the settlement movement and haredi Orthodox parties. The proposed changes have sparked debate on both sides, with some arguing that they are necessary for democracy and others viewing them as a threat to human rights and democracy. The two most prominent countries where these kinds of changes were recently enacted are Hungary and Poland.

In an interview with Tom Ginsburg, the Leo Spitz Distinguished Service Professor of International Law at the University of Chicago and a Jew who converted a former synagogue on Chicago’s South Side into a cutting-edge arts venue, these changes are further explained. He warns that proposed judicial reforms in Israel could politicize the country’s court system and undermine Israeli democracy. The Israeli judiciary has become increasingly powerful in promoting human rights and serving as a check and balance in a unicameral parliamentary system. Although judicial independence is a good thing, Ginsburg argues that judicial accountability is also important. The proposed reforms in Israel would front-end politicize the court through the selection commission and introduce back-end checks on the court through the override clause. The reforms could lead to an extremely weak judiciary and put the basic rights of unpopular minorities at risk. The source of the legitimacy of judicial power in Israel is political norms because the country does not have a single written constitution. The proposed reforms could have high stakes for Israeli governance for many decades to come.

See the full interview at the following link:


Himeles, Sara. “Israel’s Planned Judicial Reforms, Explained.” Unpacked,

“A Law Professor Worries Israel Could Become the next Hungary.” The Jerusalem Post |,

Person. “Tens of Thousands of Israelis Protest against Justice Reform Plans.” Reuters, Thomson Reuters, 4 Feb. 2023,

Related Posts

Leave a Reply