June 11, 2023 — Tel Aviv
Yair Lapid Tells AJC Global Forum Israeli Democracy Alive and Well Despite Split on Judicial Reform, Says Diaspora Jewry Views Important to Israel
Tel Aviv—June 11, 2023—Israeli opposition leader Yair Lapid said the battle over a proposed overhaul of Israel’s judicial system, is proof that democracy in Israel remains vibrant and an example for the world.
Speaking with Ted Deutch, CEO of American Jewish Committee (AJC) during the opening session of AJC Global Forum in Tel Aviv, Lapid said the fact that judicial reform is being so vigorously debated is at the heart of what has been Israel’s strength for its 75 years of independence.
“If we will not be a democracy we will not be, it's existential,” Lapid said. “Israel was founded as a democracy. This is the source of our power. It amazes me that there's so many people who do not understand the fact that there is a reason why it is the only democracy in the Middle East, it’s also the most successful country in the Middle East.”
Lapid said the opinions of Diaspora Jews should be taken into account despite the views of some Israelis who view judicial reform as strictly an internal matter.
“You should tell us what you think. And we want to hear what you have to say,” Lapid said. “I mean, there are some parts of the Israeli society who find some twisted joy in, surrounding themselves with emotional and intellectual walls and not listening to anyone but people who feel the same or think the same. I am not doing this.”
Lapid spoke at the opening plenary session of AJC Global Forum in Tel Aviv, where 1,500 Jewish advocates from more than 60 nations and six continents have gathered to discuss key issues facing the Jewish community and Israel.
On other matters, Lapid said the specter of a nuclear Iran was an existential threat not just to Israel but the entire Middle East. He warned the U.S. should not sign any agreement with Iran, the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism, and curtail Iran’s nuclear ambitions.
“Whatever is wrong in this world, Iran is going to be involved,” Lapid said.
AJC is the global advocacy organization for the Jewish people. With headquarters in New York City, 25 offices across the United States, and 14 overseas posts, as well as partnerships with 38 Jewish community organizations worldwide, AJC's mission is to enhance the well-being of the Jewish people and Israel, and to advance human rights and democratic values in the United States and around the world.