2023 Israel Democracy Conference: Panel With Former MKs and Government Ministers

At the Emergency Conference on Democracy held on 24 February 2023 at Tel Aviv’s Enav Center, a panel was dedicated to Zulat’s ‘Emergency Call-Up’ project, which enlisted 100 former MKs and government ministers to attend Knesset committee sessions in order to fight the regime revolution. Taking part in the panel were former justice minister Meir Sheetrit, former Knesset Constitution Committee chairman Prof. Menachem Ben-Sasson, former education minister Prof. Yuli Tamir, and former finance minister Roni Bar-On. The following are highlights of their remarks.

Meir Sheetrit: The enactment of an override clause means that every coalition will have a majority to overturn Supreme Court rulings. Citizens will have no recourse against the tyranny of the government. The one consolation is that no one rules forever. The public will send this government packing. It won’t take four years, but it won’t happen tomorrow either. The protest should reach such intensity as to make them feel that they are going down.

Prof. Yuli Tamir: Our camp failed because we did not educate people about democracy. We talked about equality but created an unequal society. The Supreme Court is a shield, but it needs an infrastructure. In the past we sat in governments with the ultra-Orthodox. Back then they knew the limits of their power, but now they have lost all restraint and have become intoxicated with power. We can’t turn back the clock, but we can go back to something more balanced. Israelis are very diverse and we need to talk to them.

Roni Bar-On: Seeing Benny Gantz smile at Levin and Rotman on that terrible night in the Knesset plenum was a disheartening image for all those who ventured out into the rain to come to Jerusalem to demonstrate. It was an unspeakable disgrace. Nevertheless, we must remember that our people are stronger than their leaders.

Prof. Menachem Ben-Sasson: These days I attend the meetings of the Constitution Committee and learn a lot about drunkenness, callousness, and hubris that can lead into the abyss. We listen to everyone and choose who to respond to and who not to respond to, to understand what is being proposed and to suggest an alternative.

Watch (Hebrew, no subtitles):




Dr. Maha Sabbah Karkabi


Senior Lecturer in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. She holds a Ph.D. in Sociology from Tel Aviv University (2015), a postdoctoral fellowship at the Center for Gender Studies, SOAS, University of London (2015-2016), a postdoctoral fellowship in the Department of Sociology at Tel Aviv University (2016-2017), and a postdoctoral fellowship Ph.D. at the Humphrey Institute for Social Research, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (2018-2020).
Dr. Maha Karbahi’s areas of interest focus on the connection between social change, family behavior, and gender inequality in societies in the process of change and specifically in Palestinian Arab society in Israel. Her research draws attention to the study of family life and employment, using a combined “ethnic lens” and “gender lens” and paying attention to the perspective of Palestinian Arab women, a group characterized by intersections between multiple marginal locations, which over the years has remained hidden from the research eye. Dr. Karkabi-Sabah’s research is published in professional journals and chapters in scientific books that are considered pioneers in family research, work, and gender equality.


Prof. Frances Raday

Professor Emeritus in the Lieberman Chair in Labor Law, in the Faculty of Law at the Hebrew University and serves as a full professor in the College of Management’s academic track, where she also serves as chair of the graduate program and as honorary president of the Concord Center for International Law Absorption. Radai was a member of a working group of the UN Human Rights Council on discrimination against women. In addition, she is a prominent and feminist human rights activist.


Dr. Rawia Aburabia 

Faculty member of Sapir Academic College’s School of Law, received her PhD from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Her research deals with the interface between law, gender, minorities, and human rights. Has published in leading journals on the subject of the matrimonial laws pertaining to Muslim women in Israel. Her book Under the Law, Outside Justice: Polygamy, Gendered Citizenship, and Colonialism in Israeli Law is expected to be published as part of the Gender Series of Kibbutz Meuhad Publishing House.

Dr. Aburabia has extensive experience in international human rights and public law. She has worked as a jurist for the Association for Civil Right and has been invited as a specialist to address such international forums as the United Nations and the European Parliament on the subject of indigenous communities and minority rights. She has interned with Human Rights Watch in Washington DC, and has been a member of the executive board of Amnesty International. In 2018, she was selected by the magazine Globes as one of the 40 most promising young persons in Israel under the age of 40.



Ron Kessler

With over two decades of experience in the field of digital content, Ron has participated in numerous political and social campaigns. He helped run the digital activity of senior public officials, and worked in various NGOs. Ron is a fundamentally optimistic man, who believes that Israel can be changed and so can people. Lives in Tel Aviv.