JULY 12, 2023
Responding to the news that the Israeli government approved the first reading of one of the laws that comprise its extreme “judicial overhaul” agenda and the reaction of tens of thousands of Israelis protesting up and down the country, the New Israel Fund Director in Israel, Mickey Gitzin, released the following statement:
The fight for Israeli democracy is reaching a crescendo. So many Israelis are demanding a better future – one where our critical freedoms of expression and assembly are respected, one where occupation meets its end, one that speaks in language of equality and justice. We at the New Israel Fund stand firmly in solidarity with the tens of thousands protesting the Netanyahu legislation that would explicitly and intentionally undermine judicial independence.
But we must also take heed. Our democracy will not disappear in an instant. There will be no switch, no piece of legislation, that turns democracy “off”. It declines over time, slice by slice. It is whittled away as gatekeepers are replaced by “yes” men and women. It is shrunken when the right to protest (and rights of protestors) threatened. All while this government drives off a cliff into the abyss of apartheid. We at the New Israel Fund know that protest means a struggle for a better future. That wherever there is struggle, there is hope. In this struggle to defend and protect our safety, rights, and lives, we need that hope more than ever.