As we all know, Israel, as a young country, does not have a formal written constitution. Instead, it has a set of fundamental Basic Laws that serve as the foundation for its legal system and government and were enacted by a minimal majority in the absence of a constitution, leaving much room for subjective judicial interpretation. Considering Israel's current and ongoing political crisis and social tensions, it may be essential for the country to adopt a formal constitution. For instance, the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance reports that "A constitution is a nation's fundamental identifier. It defines the values, principles, and institutions that make up a country "
As a sovereign nation, Israel would benefit from adopting a constitution based on the separation of powers and checks and balances. The separation of powers and the system of checks and balances ensure that no one branch of government becomes too powerful. We could, for instance, take a cue from successful nations like Germany, France, or the United States.
A constitution would also help to ease Israel's political and social tensions. It would provide a framework for acceptable political violence and the addressing of the needs and concerns of all national groups and communities. The late Professor Ruth Gavison, a former president of the Israel Association for Civil Rights in Israel, is one of the foremost authorities on the need for a constitution in Israel. She argues that a constitution would provide a structure for democratic government and safeguard the rights and interests of citizens. It would also increase the influence of citizens over politics by holding politicians accountable to them.
Besides, it would provide a clear sense of identity and purpose for the nation and its citizens, grant citizens greater control over politics, and express and remind that political power remains in the hands of Israel's citizens. This potential constitution would not only aid in clarifying the roles of institutions such as the Knesset, the Government, and the Supreme Court, which has become a recent point of contention between all sides. However, it would also establish the powers of each component, their delimitation within the framework, and more important on behalf of Israeli citizens.
However, it would also establish the powers of each component, their delimitation within the framework, and more important on behalf of Israeli citizens. For example, it would specify the Court's powers and responsibilities and ensure that it operates in accordance with democratic principles chosen by the citizens of this country. And we should keep in mind that possibilities are unlimited : the constitution could specify that the Supreme Court should not be a constitutional court and create a new institution with an independent selection process for its judges to serve in that capacity. In another sense, the adoption of the constitution will revert back to the citizens more political power than just the right to vote.
In another sense, the adoption of the constitution will revert back to the citizens more political power than just the right to vote. It is essential to note that the process of adopting a constitution should be democratic. And the only democratic process known to date is a vote, not a vote to a representative who will discuss the issue, but a proper referendum in which every citizen should participate and have their voice heard. It should be organized by the Knesset in order to determine the public's view of the country and to ensure its participation and fairness and under Israel's president supervision.
This will give citizens, and Israel more importantly, the opportunity to express their opinions and have a say in shaping the nation. By discussing the constitution together, citizens from the far left to the far right would have a symposium to express their opinions. This exercise will lead us, for the first time in Israel's history, to be united and equal with all our differences and similarities, our different political views, our different faiths, and our different habits. It will give us the opportunity to commune as citizens of the Promised Land of the Jewish people and determine our shared destiny, above all political stories, revenge, and drama. It is crucial not only for the current political crisis, but also for Israel's future as a living nation, as a vibrant democracy, and the refuge of Jews from around the world. Being the "Light of the Nation" was never a gift, but rather a duty, and it's time to prove that we are worthy of this responsibility.
Hillel Portugais de Almeidais based in Tel Aviv. He graduated in Political Science from Paris 1 - Panthéon Sorbonne and in Government from IDC Herzliya.
Note: The writer does not address halakhic issues involved in a constitution for Israel.