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For decades, his supporters have hailed Benjamin Netanyahu, who spent more than a fifth of the country’s life as prime minister, as “Bibi, King of Israel.”
The title was never as apt as it is today. Netanyahu, who has returned to the nation’s political throne after a brief interim government, holds extraordinary power as head of a nearly like-minded far-right coalition, and is the only defense against his or either government’s excesses. By neutralizing it, he intends to further extend his dominance. , High Court. If he can deprive the court of its independence and power, Israel will indeed become his kingdom.
But like monarchs over millennia, the accumulation of absolute power is consistent with our ruler’s inability to separate his personal interests from those of the state, and he and his There is growing confidence that only the United States can effectively lead Israel. The voices of dissent, the nurturing of the surrounding chorus of yes men (and very few women), and the consequent conviction that all means are just and necessary to preserve his reign.
The tragedy for the kingdom is that Netanyahu put it on a path to ruin. The judicial revolution Netanyahu is trying to break through Congress threatens to “eat us all up,” to quote Tuesday’s reluctant roundup by the normally reserved President Isaac Herzog.
Why would “King Bibi” act in such a decidedly dangerous way? Will you give me strength?
The main reason is that for major self-interest, he needs to escape justice, and in doing so, defeats the ostensible left-wing Ashkenazi elite of the police, state prosecutors, media, and politics, combining their energies. because I had him investigated. , he was indicted and docked for the crime, although he affirms that he never committed it and that the actions he claims are not criminal.
In his view, the same elite successors who conspired against his father in academia tried to thwart him in what he often called a political coup. They succeeded easily. But now that he has regained his power and intends to get the last word, and with no small information from his own closest family, he tells himself that his success will be the success of Israel. persuaded
step by step plan
His first emissary, a maniacal obsession he had set aside for years, is now unleashed as Justice Minister Yariv Levin.However six daysAfter the coalition was formed, Levin was sent to present a laughably misnamed “reform” proposal that had been long formulated. far from a sincere and justifiable effort to carefully and consensually adjust the delicate balance between the executive and the judiciary, which constitutes a rapidly enacted revolution imposed on the way Israel is governed, It gives almost unlimited power to the political majority.
But, as Levin points out, these proposals are only the “first steps” in reshaping Israeli governance. It is readily acknowledged that subsequent stages include the much-discussed division of his two roles as Israeli Attorney General.
Levin’s first phase overhaul would have devastating consequences for Israeli democracy, but the idea of splitting the responsibilities of the Attorney General between two officials is not without merit. But for Netanyahu, who is desperate to avoid trial, it provides the perfect exit route. The carefully selected chief prosecutor has the right to review the charges against the prime minister and is certainly expected by his appointees to conclude that Netanyahu has no reasonable cause to answer. A competent High Court may have other ideas. But Levin’s “phase one”, if implemented, would ensure that there would be no independent and competent High Court.
A young, energetic and unfaithful ally
Likud’s partners in government have every interest in helping Netanyahu – because he empowers them, serves their interests, and they have their own relationship with justice to interfere The court will not allow ultra-Orthodox parties to fully codify in law a discriminatory broad exemption from military service. We will not allow the far right to legalize settlements built on private Palestinian land. Protect against anti-Arab racism and anti-LGBTQ discrimination. It keeps repeat offenders out of ministries.
Netanyahu is no military adventurer. He is not a priesthood holder. He recognizes the importance of a close relationship with the United States, which he recognizes depends on the closeness that only two democracies can share. He has served for years within his IDF’s clear chain of command and knows the life-or-death importance of that clarity. He does not subscribe to supremacist Judaism. A secular Jew, he does not despise unorthodox Judaism and does not seek to unduly marginalize the Diaspora. He takes immense justifiable pride in the fact that Israel can serve as a reliable haven for all who are persecuted as Jews. He cultivates Israel’s prodigious technological sector and understands better than almost anyone how important it is to the economy and extends to Israel’s ability to defend itself against its enemies. And he appreciates the value of an independent high court — protecting rights within Israel and serving as a bulwark against Israel’s powerful outside critics, especially regarding Israel’s policy toward the Palestinian people.
In one way or another, his various coalition allies hold quite different positions on one or more of these issues. They are all intolerant of Judaism. They certainly aren’t all democrats. They are not all Zionists.
However, he needs them to dismantle the judicial system, “realign” the governing branch in his favor, and end his trial.
And ultimately despite funding a network of ultra-Orthodox schools and yeshivas that undermine the workforce. From restricting critical infrastructure work on the Sabbath, to funding gender-segregated public events, to hammz (fermented food) from hospitals on Passover, despite the proliferation of pro-priesthood decisions and bills. About everything, up to the ban on. Although his coalition treaty provides for anti-Arab and anti-LGBTQ discrimination, he argues that their more outrageous tendencies can be curbed. After all, he is King Bibi.
Yet Aryeh Deris, Bezalel Smotrichs, and Itamar Ben Gvirs — energetic, relentless, and young — believe they have the last word, even as they insincerely kiss his metaphorical ring. ing.
A more satisfying, arrogant and ineffective opposition party could turn the November 1 election results that gave Netanyahu and these allies a very decisive majority when the referendum was almost 50-50 split. could have been prevented.
An early iteration of his own Likud would have resisted a betrayal of the liberal and democratic principles championed by Menachem Begin, the leader who brought the party to power in the first place. left, as did Meridor and Steinitz, leaving only Dichter and Burkat. Internal dissent is easily quelled by meaningless ministry or marginal committee chairman promises.
What should I do
Attempting to thwart the monarchy, using any and all legal means to circumvent it, is therefore a major aspect of the agenda of those who voted against these coalitions, and those who supported them. This unfolding tragedy hangs over a majority of Israel’s populace – those who have come to oppose it. So far, it shows no sign of packing up and going home to protect the High Court. Demonstrate with hundreds of thousands, not tens of thousands.
Those efforts are already in full swing. Lawyers are sending warning letters, as are university directors, bankers and economists. Engineers are protesting, warning of a brain drain.
Jewish leaders of the Diaspora are often commendably reluctant to intervene in the affairs of Israel, but to quote Herzog again, our remarkable nation, the Jews of the world, We need to internalize that the fate of a person’s homeland is at stake. And we need to use whatever force we can to effectively communicate our concerns.
So do our international allies, including the United States, who must demonstrate friendship and protect their interests by emphasizing the consequences of close mutual alliances when underlying values are no longer shared. .
“Israel’s democratic foundations, including its judicial system, human rights and freedoms, are sacred and we must protect them and the values expressed in the Declaration of Independence.” 87 of 120 Knesset members It is precisely this kind of consensus among people that should guide responsible efforts to truly ‘reform’ the core elements of democracy.
“I fear we are on the brink of an internal struggle that could engulf us all,” Herzog warned Tuesday. “The lack of dialogue tears us apart from the inside. I want to make it very clear to you that this gunpowder keg is about to explode.This is an emergency.”
“During the reigns of the Houses of David and Hasmoneans, a Jewish state was established in the land of Israel and collapsed twice before reaching its 80th anniversary,” continued Herzog.
This should not have happened in the time of King Bibi.