Know Your Data: revealing the data behind Israel’s judicial reform by Naomi Rozett Studio

On January 4th, 2023 Israel was sent into political and social turmoil.

The newly appointed Minister of Justice announced an elaborate plan to change the way the judicial system works. Since then, Israel has been experiencing one of the most serious crises in its history. Fear that the country is being stripped of its democratic nature has sent tens of thousands to demonstrate every week. With no end in sight, this deep crisis is threatening the delicate social balance of Israel’s society.

As in other places around the world, the debate over Israel's judicial system is full of inaccuracies and misconceptions. Facts are being twisted and misused to illustrate a skewed view of the political balance of power to justify the new reform. At times like these, graphic designers and information designers have a key role. We have the tools to make data accessible in a clear, visual form. Knowledge is power, and knowing the facts can illuminate the extent of the present transformation.

My project confronts key assumptions underlying the reform. The first series deals with the assumption that the Supreme Court intervenes too often in the lawmaking process by overturning laws. Three graphs illustrate, firstly, how many laws were overturned on average over the years; secondly, what was the given cause for the ruling, i.e. what values did the laws violate; and thirdly, the frequency of overturning laws in Israel in comparison to other countries.

The second series deals with the assumption that the composition of judges, especially in the Supreme Court, does not reflect the complex demographics of Israeli society. The first graph depicts the lack of religious diversity in judicial positions in all courts. The second, illustrates the changes in the diversity of the Supreme Court over the years. The third, illustrates the amount of women in judicial positions in all courts, this is also compared to the percentage of women in the other two branches of government - the Knesset and the government.

The name of the project, “Know your data”, is a play on the traditional Hebrew phrase “Know from where you come, and where you are going.” As this graphic project underscores, presenting accurate, unbiased data is an integral part of understanding the present and recognizing where we’re heading.