A delegation of US Jewish federation leaders is lobbying in Israel against the government’s planned overhaul of the judiciary, a rare step that underscores the degree to which the proposed changes have rattled the US Jewish establishment.
The delegation is in Israel for 24 hours, and includes representatives of more than 30 US Jewish communities. The delegation meets with lawmakers from the governing coalition as well as the parliamentary opposition. Their main focus is on a proposal that would allow a simple majority of the Israeli parliament, the Knesset, to override Supreme Court rulings.
A statement from the Jewish Federations of North America, which is organizing the trip, singles out “the threats this proposal could have on Israel’s checks and balances and in safeguarding minority rights.”
The delegation, the statement says, “also voiced concerns over the implications that this reform may have on government support for Israel in North America.”
The trip is notable because the federation system — whose local branches aim to act as representatives of their local Jewish communities — has historically avoided criticism of Israeli government actions. Last month, the federations’ umbrella organization took the extraordinary step of writing to Israeli political leaders to oppose the override legislation and to urge compromise.