Jewish community in Metro Detroit speaks out on mass protests in Israel

Many members of metro Detroit’s Jewish community have been watching people in Israel take the streets to protest a planned overhaul of the country’s judicial system.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is now hoping to reach a consensus on how to reform the judiciary after massive demonstrations, and that’s what many in Metro Detroit’s Jewish community have been calling for.

Jewish Community Relations Council/AJC Executive Director Rabbi Asher Lopatin is watching closely the ongoing demonstrations in Israel against plans to overhaul the judiciary. His two adult children are living in the country. And he’s planning a trip there.

“What’s going on in Israel is tumultuous, but it is very healthy,” said Lopatin.

This followed massive protests Sunday night in the Israeli city of Tel Aviv in response to Netanyahu firing his defense minister over opposition to his plan.

Read: Massive protests, strike erupt in Israel over court reforms

Critics say the overhaul plan goes too far. President Biden has expressed concerns saying, “democratic societies are strengthened by genuine checks and balances.”

“It shows a very powerful and engaged and I would say, moral and ethical civil society. It shows citizenry that is not going to let any government or anything take away democracy in Israel,” said Lopatin.

History Professor Howard Lupovitch is the director of the Cohn-Haddow Center for Judaic Studies at Wayne State University.

“In Israel, their system of checks and balances, they don’t have three separate branches because the legislature and the executive are more or less the same,” said Lupovitch.

The proposal has sparked concerns in Israel’s financial, business, security and academic sectors.

“Leaders in the Israeli economic sectors are afraid that this could destabilize Israel’s economy by creating uncertainties among investors both within Israel and abroad because the Knesset could just pass a law which fundamentally changes how things work,” said Lupovitch.

Lupovitch stated there’s widespread support for some judicial reforms.

Israel has no written constitution making the Supreme Court very powerful.

More: Netanyahu delays judicial overhaul after mass protests

About the Author:

Will Jones rejoined the Local 4 News team in February 2023 as a weekend anchor and reporter. He previously worked as a general assignment reporter for the station from 2012 to 2015.