Israel judicial crisis: Netanyahu’s self-inflicted chaos

Israel judicial crisis: Netanyahu’s self-inflicted chaos

Sawako Uchida and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel is creating a self-inflicting crisis. Accordingly, he sacked Defense Minister Yoav Gallant after he espoused doubts about his judicial reforms. 

Gallant defiantly said, “The security of the State of Israel has always been and will always be my life’s mission.”

President Isaac Herzog (a mainly ceremonial role) warned Netanyahu to reverse course for the sake of the unity of Israel. He said, “For the sake of the unity of the people of Israel, for the sake of responsibility, I call on you to stop the legislative process immediately.”

Opponents of the reforms stipulate it is an attack against democracy. Hence, the judiciary will become subservient to politicians – who could overrule the Court’s legal decisions by a majority vote in the Knesset. 

The Guardian reports, “Hospitals, universities, and the country’s largest trade union announced a general strike on Monday morning, while Tel Aviv’s airport, Israel’s main international gateway, began canceling flights. Local municipalities, nurseries, civil servants and tech workers have also joined the action.”

Supporters of Netanyahu – sensing the size of the opposition (politically and from the growing protest movement) – are likely to pressure him to reverse course. 

The Jerusalem Post reports, “Israelis continued to protest on Monday against the judicial reform as the people waited for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s statement in which he was expected to announce a temporary end to the judicial reform legislation.”

Outside of the judicial issue, the protests highlight the growing tensions within Israeli society. 

Conservative Judaism and growing secularism – amplified by cultural, political, and social divisions – seem set to grow. 

The security minister, Itamar Ben-Gvir, said Netanyahu must not “surrender to anarchy.”

However, it seems that mounting internal pressure on Netanyahu within his circle will seek a compromise – even if only in the short term. 

Netanyahu appealed to people on all sides “to behave responsibly and refrain from violence.”

He continued, “all of us are brothers and sisters.”

The BBC reports, “The government argues that voters elected it on a promise of reforming the judiciary and attempts to stop it are undemocratic. It also considers the judiciary to be too liberal and the system of appointing new judges to be unrepresentative.”

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