Will Israel still be rated "Free" in the Freedom in the World 2024 Report (covering the year 2023)?
resolved Mar 9

From https://metaculus.com/questions/16327/israels-rating-in-freedom-in-the-world-2024/

Freedom in the World is a yearly report that measures the degree of civil liberties and political rights in the different countries in the World. It is published by the NGO Freedom House.

Each country gets two scores: one for civil liberties and the other for political rights. The scale of the scores is 1-7, where 1 is the best score (highest degree of liberty/rights) and 7 is the worst. If the sum of the country’s two scores is 5 or lower, it is rated as (Fully) Free. If it’s greater than 5 but lower than 11, it’s rated as Partly Free. If it’s 11 or more, it’s rated as Not Free.

Israel has always been rated as (Fully) Free in the report, since the first report (1973). In the latest report, that was published in March 2023 and covers the year of 2022, Israel’s score for Civil liberties was 3 and its score for Political Rights was 2. The sum of the two scores is 5, hence making Israel rated as Free . Currently, 84 countries are rated Free, 54 are rated Partly Free and 47 are rated Not Free.

Israel’s scores have been declining in recent years. While in the years 2006 to 2017 Israel’s Civil Liberties score was 2 and its score for Political Rights was 1, Since 2018 the scores declined. In 2019 it got to scores of 2 and 3, which remained since then. This level of scores had not been seen in Israel since the 1977 report. However, the declines have not been enough to change Israel’s rating, which remains Free.

In November 2022 a new government was elected. The new government, formed in the last days of December 2022, contains some far-right elements. In January 2023 the government started legislating a judicial reform, that strip some power from the judicial system. In response, mass protests and strikes erupted. The reforms would grant the government control over judge appointments and limit the Supreme Court's ability to strike down legislation deemed unconstitutional.

In late March 2023, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced a temporary pause to the legislation. The main opposition parties welcomed the decision very cautiously. The street demonstrations did not stop, however, as many participants denounced the freeze as temporary.

The attempts to legislate the judicial reform are not yet reflected in the latest Freedom in the World report, as it covers the year of 2022 and the legislation began in January 2023. The next report, covering the year 2023, is supposed to be published in early 2024. It is uncertain whether the judicial reform will pass until then, and if it does – what would its effect on Israel’s freedom ratings be.

More information about the reform and protests can be found on Wikipedia.

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Resolved YES as per Metaculus

predicted YES

@MetaculusBot @dglid Can we get this extended? It was extended on Metaculus, and the report will release on February 29th

@Shump Done!

Fascinating that the Metaculus market was hovering at 60% until October 7th and then went up, while this one was hovering at 72 until October 7th, then dipped, then reverted.

I went through the rating, and here's the current scores and what I think it should be for 2024 for each part:
Electoral process: 12/12 - Nothing changed, elections are still normal (for now at least)
B1 - 3/4
B2 - 4/4
B3 - 4/4
B4 - 2/4
C1 - 4/4
C2 - 2/4
C3 - 3/4 There are current challenges to the freedom of information law which might reduce this to a 2/4
D1 - 3/4 probably a decrease to 2/4 because of silencing of any pro-Palestinian messaging, including in the media
D2 - 3/4
D3 - 3/4 There have been some recent declines in this category, but nothing from the last year as far as I can recall
D4 - 3/4 This one is very likely to suffer and I expect it to decline. Many people have been jailed for showing any kind of sympathy to Gazans. Surveillance has scaled up massively as well
E1 - 3/4 Currently the police is trying to prevent any anti-war protest. Combine that with the increasing police violence in the protests against Netanyahu, and this is certainly going down to at least 2/4, perhaps even 1/4
E2 - 2/4 Not aware of any changes here but something might still happen
E3 - 4/4
F1 - 4/4 This one is certainly going to decrease to 3/4 with the legal revolution
F2 - 3/4 This one might decrease due to mass arrests of Arabs about stuff they post on social media, but might not.
F3 - 2/4 This one is absolutely going down, maybe even to 0/4
F4 - 2/4 There has been some very unequal enforcement of laws around promoting violence against Arabs, as well as banning some of them from working. This one might decrease
G1 - 3/4
G2 - 3/4
G3 - 3/4
G4 - 2/4
Best case: 34 (+0) on political rights, 39 (-4) on civil liberties, still free
Worst case: 33 (-1) on political rights, 33 (-10) on civil liberties, partially free, but only barely.

After going through all this effort, I have to say that I find the current price to be very reasonable

@Shump Do you think the leak about Bagatz killing reasonableness will change things?

@nathanwei No, I bought this up because nothing changed

@Shump Surprised the score went down by less than the best case. They even give the exact same reasoning as I talked about here for several components, but they just leave the score intact. Honestly it smells a bit like political bias.

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