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Israeli judicial reform is an existential crisis

“Top Story” with Jonathan Tobin and guest Liel Leibovitz, Ep. 98

The battle over judicial reform in Israel is about more than constitutional questions or what opponents of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu government’s proposals are calling a battle for democracy, says JNS editor-in-chief Jonathan Tobin.

He’s joined this week by Tablet magazine editor-at-large Liel Leibovitz, who says the debate that has riven Israeli society is about something deeper: a continuation of a conversation the Zionist movement started 100 years ago about whether Israel will be a truly Jewish state or one that wants to be like any other country only with some Jewish practices, the Hebrew language and a blue-and-white flag.

It is, Leibovitz argues, an “existential crisis” and not just a political dispute about Netanyahu or the Supreme Court. It’s about what kind of country the Jewish state will be, he says, something its various founders dating back to Theodor Herzl disagreed on.

And it’s rooted in contempt for and unreasonable fear of Mizrachi, and especially religious Jews, on the part of Israel’s secular, liberal sector, he says.

That sector of the population, the driving force behind the demonstrations that have paralyzed the country, doesn’t know much about their fellow Jews and is wrong to think that their goal is to turn Israel into a Jewish version of Iran, he argues. They also ignore the reality that Israel will never be a “normal” state like any other but will always be influenced by Jewish tradition and belief, he adds.

Leibovitz then discusses a recent article in which he addresses the rise of woke ideology regarding race, and especially sex and gender, as a new form of paganism. It is essentially a new religion, he says, rooted in “collective mass psychosis” about sex and gender.

More to the point, the transgender cult is—like all ancient pagan religions that Judaism sought to oppose—practicing child sacrifice in the form of “gender-affirming care” that amounts to chemical castration and irreversible, life-altering surgeries, he says.

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