Eyal Warshavsky / Sopa Images / Sipa Press
Eyal Warshavsky / Sopa Images / Sipa Press

Israel: EI welcomes union victory against controversial judiciary reform threatening democracy

published 29 March 2023 updated 31 March 2023

Education International welcomes the success of union and democratic forces in Israel that compelled Prime Minister Netanyahu to pause a controversial legislation which would have severely undermined democracy in the country.

The unprecedented mobilisation, following the call for a general strike by the Israeli trade unions – supported by employers, universities, academics, students and large segments of society – was historic and impactful. The strike only lasted for 10 hours before the government decided to reverse course.

“Following the Prime Minister’s announcement, I am announcing that the general strike, which I announced this morning, will end. I thank all the partners in the move (…). Together we will return the State of Israel to the right path.”, said Arnon Bar-David, Chairman of Histadrut, the largest trade union centre in the country.

Were it to pass the proposed legislation would seriously limit the power of the Supreme Court and give the parliament direct control over the appointment of judges. An impartial and independent judiciary is crucial for maintaining the integrity of democratic institutions and protecting the fundamental rights of citizens.

David Edwards, General Secretary of Education International commented the union victory: “I commend the Israeli trade unions and civil society who, through their unprecedented mobilisation, have pushed back against the threats of authoritarianism. By defending the rights of workers, unions are defending one of the very foundations of democracy itself. By defending an independent judiciary, they are defending a critical check on their democracy’s future.”