Around 300 people participated in an event in support of the government's judicial reform program in the city of Yavneh, attended by a number of prominent speakers including Daniella Weiss of the Nahala movement, Matan Peleg of Im Tirtzu, Gali Bat Horon of the Forum Cafe Shapira (a right-wing social activist group), and Dr. Mordechai Kedar of "Professors for a Strong Israel." The initiative was the work of a local social activist and unaffiliated with any political organization.
"In the past thirty years, the country has been ruled by a Supreme Court dictatorship," said Bat Horon. "As in any other totalitarian regime, it has exerted control over all government offices via 'legal advisers' and has utilized its limitless power in the media and over the agencies of enforcement of the law, enabling it to persecute anyone who opposed its rule. Its power has already attracted all those who are power-hungry who realize where the real power lies."
Nahala head Weiss added, "The government's judicial reforms were the central component of the government's election campaign promises to a public of around 2.3 million people who flocked to the polling booths to vote enthusiastically for this process. The reforms have been crafted over the past few decades by [Justice] Minister Levin, who seeks to restore balance between the three branches of government following the 'judicial revolution' led by [former Supreme Court President] Aharon Barak, a revolution that was achieved without most people even being aware of what was happening at the time. I wish to encourage Minister Levin, MK Simcha Rothman, and Prime Minister Netanyahu, who are not submitting to the forces of anarchy or the despicable terminology being used at the protests, which has already become customary for them -- words such as 'civil rebellion' and including calls to refuse orders and to stop paying taxes."
Oshrit Setbon of the Council of Women's Organizations was also present, and stressed that the government's judicial reform program was likely to benefit women. "Some of the women protesting decided to dress up as characters from the "Handmaid's Tale," an extreme presentation of a dark regime, in order to tarnish the image of the Israeli government in the eyes of the world, thus playing into the hands of anti-Semites who are now rubbing their hands in glee at the way the issue is being portrayed in international media," she said.
"As someone who has studied the proposed reforms in-depth, I feel it is vital to stress that they will only strengthen the position of women in Israeli society. Consider that just two months ago, a female judge in the Beer Sheva District Court handed down a ridiculously lenient sentence to a Bedouin found guilty of indecent assault on a ten-year-old girl in her own home. A month before that, reports emerged indicating that the attorney-general intends to shelve the case against Muhammad Atallah, the suspect in a case of multiple rapes of a female IDF soldier posted in the Gilboa prison.
"We of the various women's organizations have watched in bewilderment as female MKs from left-wing parties voted time after time against the establishment of a parliamentary commission of inquiry into this horrific incident," she continued. "We need legislation with mandatory minimum terms of sentencing which will strengthen the position of women and prevent these absurd cases from recurring in which women are essentially being jettisoned by the authorities."
Dr. Mordechai Kedar also addressed the gathering, giving a mocking account of the views of those who oppose the government's reforms. "Have you gone mad? We are the ones who built this country and it is we who brought you here. We are the ones who cut off your peyot [sidelocks] and shaved your beards off, sent your children to learn in the right kind of schools and threw you to the [impoverished development towns of] Sderot, Ofakim, Netivot, Beit She'an, and Afula -- and not in order for you to come to us with demands -- and certainly not in order for you to rule over us!
"We, with our bouffant hair and blue eyes, we are the elite, we are the economy, the culture, the media, the judiciary, academia -- we are the enlightened ones and that is why we must always remain in charge here, because we know what is best for our country. Tell me, have you gone mad? You're not capable of governing the country!
"Dear friends of the right wing, if you really care about the country then you should be raising not the country's flag, but a white flag. We will send our mobs to storm the Knesset if you won't surrender. Why? Because we set the rules of the game and we are the ones who decide whether or not to change them. Why can't you understand this?"
Matan Peleg of Im Tirtzu also spoke, noting that, "In hi-tech, in the reserves, and among the general population, there is a clear majority against those calling on people to refuse orders, a clear majority against anarchy, and in support of making substantive changes to the judiciary. The country voted for this in the past elections, after a decade during which the Supreme Court invalidated 16 laws passed by the Knesset. In such a situation, there is no other option than real and substantive change. We call on our elected representatives not to back down to those representing a small minority that failed to clear the electoral threshold, and not to give way to anarchists. The people voted for judicial reform and that is what they must get."