PM Netanyahu, A-G Beharav-Miara
PM Netanyahu, A-G Beharav-MiaraNoam Moshkovitz, Knesset spokesman, Hezki Baruch

"Opposition to Israeli judicial reform has reached the 'resistance' stage," according to an article by the Editorial Board of the Wall Street Journal, published on Monday, an article which portrays the Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, as the one person who can achieve compromise -- if only the attorney-general will back down from her decision prohibiting him from any involvement in the matter.

Painting a picture of the ongoing protests, the Journal describes how the "media says democracy is dying, officials refuse to remain impartial, activists block key roads, barricade think tanks and harass politicians' families, and investors muse about pulling capital. Air Force pilots are even shirking reserve duty.

"This is bad for the country," the authors note, "but it's good opposition politics: Sow chaos, then shout, 'Look how chaotic Israel has become.'"

Among those refusing to remain impartial is the U.S. President, Joe Biden, who "says that Israel needs consensus." The Journal points out, however, that there was never consensus in the past when the Israeli Supreme Court transformed itself into the "final arbiter" on all issues, declaring literally everything to be within its purview. "The judicial establishment examined everything -- from government appointments through budget cuts, military decisions, and even a debate on whether the prime minister was fit for office." And the Supreme Court did not even always wait for the Knesset to pass legislation before striking it down; on many occasions, the Court, along with the attorney-general, applied a veto in advance, declaring certain areas off-limits and ruling that certain steps were illegal, tying the hands of elected representatives.

Rectifying this situation does not entail the death of democracy, the Journal insists. "Even if the reforms were to abolish judicial review of legislation, leaving the Knesset supreme, this would drag Israel all the way back to ... 1995." The article stresses that, "A sovereign parliament is the norm in parliamentary democracies that lack a written constitution for courts to enforce."

Despite the growing chaos on the streets, the article continues, "Most Israelis accept today that the judicial system needs to be reformed, which is a great achievement by the right-wing. But the Netanyahu government has not convinced Israelis that their reform plan is the right one." Furthermore, the way in which they have responded to the challenges of the opposition have hardened the positions of all involved and made it far harder for them to approach the negotiation table.

Nonetheless, the Journal accepts that the government and its supporters have recognized a need for compromise, in order to restore public confidence. Neither side wants to give way, not even an inch -- and the only way to get past this, according to the article, is by involving the Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu.

"There's just one problem," they conclude, and that's Israel's attorney-general, who has prohibited Netanyahu from involving himself in the issue of judicial reform in any way. According to the Journal, this is not just counterproductive but hypocritical; the reason used to bar Netanyahu from involvement (his conflict of interest due to his ongoing criminal trial) is just as applicable to the attorney-general and the entire judicial system itself.