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Pro-judicial reform think tank head blasts Israeli government’s management of the divisive issue

Prof. Moshe Koppel, founder and chairman of Kohelet Policy Forum in Jerusalem. (Photo: Screenshot)

The head of Kohelet Policy Forum in Jerusalem, which has provided research and many of the ideas for the Israeli government’s ongoing judicial reforms, criticized the Netanyahu coalition’s handling of the divisive issue during an interview with The Wall Street Journal. 

Prof. Moshe Koppel, founder and chairman of the conservative think tank, blasted the government for being ill-prepared and rushing the legislative process. 

“If you want to do something major, you need to do it in a very thought-out and deliberate manner,” U.S.-born Koppel told the WSJ. “The government did not prepare properly. It was rushed.”

Koppel also criticized the current government for governing in an irresponsible manner. 

“Those who are now in the coalition are going to need to learn how to govern responsibly – and they haven’t.” 

The Kohelet Policy Forum has, in recent years, called for the implementation of conservative and libertarian ideas in the Jewish state in the commercial, economic and justice system.

Echoing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s position, the Jerusalem think tank has argued that the court system’s excessive powers in recent years necessitate a judicial overhaul in order to restore the balance of power between Israel’s executive and judicial branches.

However, over recent months, Israel has witnessed the harsh difference between theory and practice.

In March, troubled by the growing societal divisions in Israel, the Kohelet Policy Forum called for “broad consensus” as a solution to the Israeli judicial reform crisis.

In a letter on social media, the think tank argued in favor of judicial reform, while stressing the need for a broad consensus in Israel’s diverse society. 

“Immediately after the Minister of Justice announced the reform, we started talks and contacts with colleagues who oppose it in an attempt to reach agreements and compromises. We did this out of the belief that it would be very desirable for such a move to pass with broad agreement, and from the understanding that there is a point in improving the proposed reform in a way that would allow the expansion of the circle of supporters,” the Kohelet Policy Forum wrote in its letter. 

In August, the Kohelet Policy Forum faced a setback when it lost its main donor, Jewish-American billionaire Arthur Dantchik who was ranked in 2022 as the 104th richest individual according to Forbes. 

At the time, Dantchik argued that his decision to defund the Jerusalem think tank was due to his belief that Israeli society urgently needs national unity and healing. 

"Throughout my life, I have supported a diverse array of organizations that promote individual liberties and economic freedoms for all people," said Dantchik.

"Nevertheless, when a society becomes dangerously fragmented, people must come together to preserve democracy. I stopped donating to think tanks in Israel, including the Kohelet Policy Forum. I believe what is most critical at this time is for Israel to focus on healing and national unity," stated the American businessman and philanthropist. 

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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