Some 70,000 protesters held a rally outside Jerusalem’s Knesset on Monday to voice outrage over Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government’s effort to erase the country’s system of checks and balances by overhauling the judicial system.
Isaac Herzog, the Israeli president, urged calm and called on Netanyahu to hold off on the move. The Financial Times reported that Herzog said, “This powder keg is about to explode.”
Critics have called out Netanyahu’s hardline government for proposing an “unbridled attack on the justice system” and said the proposal would give the government a “blank check” to pass laws.
TRENDPOST: The Trends Journal has reported extensively on the continual protests in the country over the proposal. (See “LARGE-SCALE PROTESTS BREAK OUT IN ISRAEL OVER NETANYAHU’S ‘REFORM’ PLANS” 17 Jan 2023 and “NETANYAHU’S MOVE TO WEAKEN COURTS GROWING” 31 Jan 2023.)
A YouTube video emerged earlier this month that showed Rabbi Sharon Brous giving a speech about the dangers of the judicial overhaul. A senior rabbi of IKAR, a Jewish congregation in Los Angeles, she warned that the Jewish State could be ready for a revolution and that nobody should be surprised by the lurch to illiberalism and ultranationalism.
Brous tied Israel’s treatment of Palestinians as an example of how public sentiment provided Netanyahu’s government with momentum. She said there is a pervasive feeling among many Israelis that Palestine is an “Us vs. Them” issue, with Israelis fighting for all that is good and Palestinians as unvirtuous.
“This is not an accident,” she said. “And this is not an anomaly. This moment of illiberalism has been a long time in the making and our silence has been complicity.”
Indeed, Brous’s comment that Israel could see a revolution is not hyperbole. The New York Times reported that former Prime Minister Yair Lapid said the judicial policy could destroy democracy in Israel and Benny Gantz, the former defense minister, warned of the possibility of civil war.
TRENDPOST: The Trends Journal has reported extensively on Netanyahu’s hardline government which is seen as a threat to the Palestinian people and the tenuous peace in the region. (See “UN TAKES TO RULE ON ISRAEL SETTLEMENTS OF PALESTINIANS TERRITORIES” 10 Jan 2023, “LARGE-SCALE PROTESTS BREAK OUT IN ISRAEL OVER NETANYAHU’S ‘REFORM’ PLANS” 17 Jan 2023 and “NETANYAHU’S COALITION MAKES DEAL WITH CONVICTED RACIST TO STAMP DOWN PALESTINIANS” 29 Nov 2022.)
We’ve noted that Netanyahu himself is on trial for corruption charges so his critics say there’s added motivation to his decision to go along with the Knesset’s plans to overhaul the judicial system and strip powers from the courts. The protesters see the attack on the judiciary as an existential threat to democracy in the country by the country’s most right-wing and religious in history.
Fight for the Soul of Israeli Democracy
Those taking part in the protests have said the fight they are in is a fight for the soul of Israel’s longstanding commitment to a democratic society.
Netanyahu has called the reforms sensible and actually help preserve democracy from a judiciary that wants to make its own laws instead of enforce them. Netanyahu has accused opposition leaders of “dragging the country into anarchy.”
“I call on the leaders of the opposition: stop it. Stop deliberately leading the country into anarchy. Get a hold of yourselves, show responsibility and leadership,” he said. “Most Israeli citizens do not want anarchy. They want a substantive discussion and in the end they want unity.”
Protesters see the move as a power grab by Netanyahu and his cronies.
“You voted Bibi, You got Mussolini” read one protester’s placard, according to the Times.
CNN noted that rainbow flags and Palestinian flags were “sprinkled among many Israeli flags in the crowd.”
U.S. President Joe Biden issued a statement to the Times on Sunday calling on consensus in Israel.
“The genius of American democracy and Israeli democracy is that they are both built on strong institutions, on checks and balances, on an independent judiciary. Building consensus for fundamental changes is really important to ensure that the people buy into them so they can be sustained,” he said.
TREND FORECAST: With 41 percent of Israelis opposed to the judicial proposals and 44 percent in favor, by the numbers it is a civil war between the classes. Should the protests continue to escalate, we forecast the current Israeli government will ramp up its wars with the Palestinians and Iran. As Gerald Celente says, “When all else fails, they take you to war.”
And should military confrontation erupt between Israel and Iran – not only will it be another element of WWIII which was ignited with the Ukraine war – oil prices will spike to over $100 per barrel that will in turn crash the already fragile equity markets and global economy.