Rosh Hashana 5772: Hope and the Social Justice Movement
While right-wing politicians are rolling back democratic rights in Israel, a new generation of protesters is demanding more powers for the people.
The Jewish year 5771 brought two diametrically opposed developments in Israel. One was the flood of anti-democratic laws passed and proposed in the Knesset. The other was the social justice protest movement, in which Israel’s democracy suddenly came alive. On the eve of Rosh Hashanah, we should reflect on what these two phenomena tell us about Israel, and what they mean for the future.
The laws proposed by Knesset members Zeev Elkin, Danny Danon and many others violate one of the deepest rationales of liberal democracy: to avoid what the great observer of democracy, Alexis de Tocqueville, called the danger of the tyranny of the majority; to protect open and critical discussion as well as the rights of minorities.