From Tuesday, the Supreme Court in Jerusalem will discuss the controversial judicial reform, which critics see as endangering Israel’s democracy. Abbot Nicodemus heads the German-speaking monastery in Jerusalem – he has been noticing a dramatic radicalization of society for years.
Abbot Nicodemus wears a dark habit and a silver cross; he sits in the newly opened cafeteria of the Dormition Abbey. Since spring of this year, the monk has headed the German-speaking monastery, which sits on Mount Zion in Jerusalem, just a few steps from the Old City, through which pilgrims pass through at any time of the year. Nicodemus, 44 years old, came to the Holy Land as a theology student and never left. He has now lived here for more than 20 years and has become the face of Christians in Jerusalem, also well connected in Jewish civil society. Before his current position, he looked after Christian guest workers in Israel, or as he says: “the invisible Christians” – mostly people from the Philippines, Sri Lanka or India. Nicodemus, he leaves no doubt about it, loves Israel and he cares about Israel.
Since the beginning of the year, tens of thousands of demonstrators have been demonstrating every week against the planned judicial reform, but the protests have long since been directed against the entire national-religious government of Benjamin Netanyahu. With the reform, the government wants to abolish the so-called appropriateness clause, which previously allowed the Supreme Court to reject government decisions as inappropriate. Critics see the proposed law as a threat to democracy. Today, September 12th, the Supreme Court will discuss for the first time the abolition of the adequacy clause – i.e. its own disempowerment.
The country is divided, the fronts are hardening – and Abbot Nicodemus, with his cross over his habit, also notices this personally: he says that he is being met with hostility more and more often. He speaks in a deep voice and can laugh heartily; in spite of everything.
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I have been working in the news industry for over 6 years, first as a reporter and now as an editor. I have covered politics extensively, and my work has appeared in major newspapers and online news outlets around the world. In addition to my writing, I also contribute regularly to 24 Hours World.