The Two Revolutions of Israel's National Identity

Barak Medina*, Ofra Bloch

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The judicial overhaul, designed to weaken the judiciary and unleash governmental power from its structural checks, should be understood, we argue, as part of a deeper transformation of Israel's constitutional identity. At its core, this transformation is not about 'empowering the people' but rather about questioning Israel's commitment to the fundamental principle of equal citizenship, mainly regarding the permissibility of preferring the interests of Jews over those of non-Jews. Understanding the judicial overhaul as part of this larger transformation of the state's identity, towards more Jewish and less democratic, carries normative implications regarding its legitimacy. The judicial overhaul is often presented by the Israeli government as an attempt to undo the 1992 so-called 'constitutional revolution', questioning its legitimacy and asserting that a counter-revolution would be permissible, aligning with the current will of the people. An examination of Israel's constitutional history refutes this argument. We show that while the 1992 revolution enjoyed both normative and, at least, partial social legitimacy, current attempts do not.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)305-319
Number of pages15
JournalIsrael Law Review
Issue number3
StatePublished - 4 Nov 2023


  • Israel
  • constitutional identity
  • constitutional law
  • equality
  • national identity


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