WATCH: Former Justice Minister Haim Ramon “I was a useful idiot.” The Origins of the Supreme Court’s Power Grab

Investigative journalist Akiva Bigman speaks to the central players involved in passing the Basic Dignity Law in 1992 that facilitated Justice Barak’s power grab.

Mark Neyman, GPO

“Can you imagine that there is a constitutional revolution taking place in a country and no one knows about it,” asks Bar Ilan Professor Gidi Sapir. “Not only was I fooled, but I was also a useful idiot,” said former Justice Minister Haim Ramon, “because I went and convinced others [to vote for it].” 

Since current Justice Minister Yariv Levin announced his plans to pass legislation that would reform the judiciary, there have been protests in Tel Aviv and throughout the country opposing the plan. While the protests against the legislation gained traction over the last six months the protests were actually planned in a public relations firm months before the plan was announced. The issue has stirred emotions throughout Israel with a protest movement that has taken the unprecedented steps of threatening widespread insubordination in the air force, elite intelligence, and combat units to stop the democratically elected government from implementing its legislation.

The question is: how did we get here? Why does the current government claim that Israel’s Supreme Court has amassed so much power unlawfully? Investigative journalist Akiva Bigman goes to the root of the issue: Justice Aharon Barak’s constitutional revolution of the 1990s. Bigman speaks to the central players involved in passing the monumental Basic Dignity Law in 1992, which served as a centerpiece of Justice Aharon Barak’s power grab. Were they aware of the meaning of the law that they were passing? Did they foresee Barak’s power grab? Was there anyone who sounded the alarm at the time?

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