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🇺🇸 All Eyes on Israel

Plus, a cheese highway.

The Flag

 

Good morning, and happy Tuesday. A young woman lost a ring that contained a jewel made from her father’s ashes, but an unlikely set of heroes emerged to return it to her.

Plus, a truck spilled its cargo on an Arkansas highway, creating a gooey mess of nacho cheese.

Also, investments to rally around, smart advisors for smart assets, and pros to know when you're dealing with the mortgage show.

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Left: Enough With the False Narrative About Trump’s Rise Christina Cauterucci, Slate

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FOREIGN AFFAIRS

Israel’s Judicial Evolution

At the end of last month, Israel’s parliament (Knesset) approved a key portion of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's divisive plan to reshape the country's justice system despite massive protests that revealed unprecedented fissures in Israeli society.

Reporting from the Right: Israel Ignores Biden and Passes Judicial Reforms (The Washington Free Beacon)

Reporting from the Left: Israeli Supreme Court to review law that limits its power, setting up showdown with government (CNN)

From The Flag: The measure would prevent judges from striking down government decisions on the basis that they are "unreasonable,” effectively reducing the Israeli judiciary’s power. Two days after the measure was passed, the nation’s Supreme Court announced it would hear appeals to the controversial law. Here’s what both sides are saying.

RIGHT-LEANING SENTIMENT

This Isn’t That Radical

  • Israel’s system allowed judges a great deal of unchecked power, and this bill seeks to remedy that, and, in fact, makes Israel more democratic.

  • The new legislation doesn’t change much, and it still leaves a great deal of leeway to Israel’s judiciary.

  • The matters going on in Israel are internal affairs that President Joe Biden has no business interfering in.

Ignore President Biden, Here’s What Is Really Happening In Israel David Harsanyi, The Federalist: “...there is no Israeli constitution. The court’s decisions are often arbitrary, politically expedient, constantly evolving, and sometimes contradictory. The court regularly blocks laws passed by center-right governments simply because judges claim policy is unreasonable. Why only center-right governments? Because the entrenched judges (with their allies in the Israeli bar) appoint their own successors in perpetuity. There is no accountability to either the popular will or a constitutional tradition. Imagine the American left’s outlook if the Supreme Court’s originalists could simply tap their own replacements without any input from senators or the president. … The system is so insane that not only can the court lord over the legislative branch without explanation, but it can remove ministers and elected officials at will. The attorney general is empowered to bar officials — even the prime minister — from participating in national debates. This is not, by any real standard, “democratic” governance. It is illiberal.”

Israel’s judicial reform of its courts’ unchecked power is not as radical as activists would have you believe Avi Bell, New York Post: “‘Reasonableness’ review makes courts policymakers, politicizing the judiciary and weakening the rule of law on one hand while weakening democratic rule and accountability on the other. The new legislation is extremely modest. It leaves reasonableness review intact except where used to second-guess the decision-making of elected officials. Israel’s high court remains the most powerful administrative-law court in the Western world. The importance of the reasonableness amendment right now is largely political. It will prove significant only if Israel’s parliament adopts the remainder of the reform without excessive delay. The new law brings the center of the debate over judicial reform from the streets back to where it ought to be — the chambers and hallways of the elected legislature. The prime minister has asked opposition leaders to join him in hammering out a compromise version of judicial reform that can enjoy broader public support.”

One more opinion piece from the Right: On Israeli court reform, Biden should check himself Editorial Board, Washington Examiner

LEFT-LEANING SENTIMENT

Israel Is Destroying its Democracy

  • With all that is happening right now in Israel, including this latest legislation, it’s becoming more difficult to see Israel as a democracy.

  • Opposition to this bill isn’t solely the law itself, but that Israel’s government no longer trusts its people to safeguard its democracy.

  • Prime Minister Netanyahu, who is already serving a relatively tumultuous term, is further weakening his legacy with his actions.

In Israel, the Worst May Be Yet to Come Adam Shinar, The New York Times: “Since January, most of those who have taken to the streets did so in the belief that the government is set on a path to violate the most basic compact between the state and its citizens and that their country could cease to be a democracy. But something deeper is also at work. It is not only the possible breakdown of Israeli democracy, flawed as it may be. It is the unraveling of Israel’s basic identity, that of a Jewish and democratic state. Across Israel, there is growing alarm about the rise of religion in the public sphere and the privileging of Jewish interests inside Israel and in the occupied territories. In a country that devotes more and more resources to maintain the occupation and the settlements; in a country with no separation of religion and state…insisting that the very textural fabric of Israeli society is both Jewish and democratic is becoming less and less convincing. The battle in the streets is not just about the constitutional overhaul. It is whether Israel can have a future as a liberal democracy.”

Israel Has Already Lost Yair Rosenberg, The Atlantic: “Israel’s warring camps are ostensibly fighting over the reasonableness doctrine, a technical tool inherited from British common law that allows the country’s high court to overrule certain government decisions, though not legislation. But fundamentally, this debate is not about the law itself, which few Israelis could easily explain. It is about whose judgment is trusted to safeguard the country’s democracy. …this week’s reform did not take place in a vacuum. It took place in the context of a power grab by the most hard-right government in Israeli history—one that received only 48.4 percent of the vote in the last election. If Israel’s judges no longer get to decide which administrative decisions are ‘reasonable,’ that means that the politicians in power do, even if they, too, lack a mandate. And today, those politicians include homophobes, convicted criminals, aspiring theocrats, and proud nationalist chauvinists.”

One more opinion piece from the Left: Towering Netanyahu has never looked so weak Frida Ghitis, CNN

FLAG THIS

Unpopular Among Israelis

Before the bill was passed, a poll indicated that a plurality (43%) of Israelis were opposed. Only 31% of respondents support it, and 25% said they were unsure (The Jerusalem Post).

The day after the bill’s passage, Prime Minister Netanyahu took a hit. Two main Israeli news broadcasters showed that if an election was held at that moment, the number of seats held by Netanyahu's governing coalition in the 120-seat Knesset would fall from 64 to 52 or 53.

Seats held by Netanyahu's own Likud party would fall from 32 to 28, according to N12 News, and to as low as 25 seats in a survey by broadcaster Reshet 13 (Reuters).

Do you believe Israel's judicial reform strengthens or weakens its democracy?

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FLAG FINDS

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WATERCOOLER

Nixon Resigns, Level Up With Vaseline, Automatic Dual Citizenship

White House Deputy Special Assistant Alvin Snyder with President Richard Nixon before his resignation speech.

On This Day in 1974: In an evening televised addresss, President Richard M. Nixon announces his intention to become the first president in American history to resign. With impeachment proceedings underway against him for his involvement in the Watergate affair, Nixon was finally bowing to pressure from the public and Congress to leave the White House.

Today I learned because of the continuing ongoing dispute between Canada and the United States over the Machias Seal Island, anyone who is born on it is given the claim of dual citizenship of both countries.

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