With complete disregard for weeks-long protests in Israel against the law that would weaken the Supreme Court, Netanyahu is indeed digging the grave for his own government.
After the far-right government in Israel under the leadership of Benjamin Netanyahu announced its determination to weaken the Supreme Court back in January, People in Israel have been holding massive and continuous protests across different cities, especially Tel Aviv, to express their discontent with the decision.
Besides the size of the protests in most of which tens of thousands of Israelis have taken part, the alarming news for Netanyahu and his extreme government is that in addition to common people, members of the elite society, soldiers, and even military commanders of Israel have also showed up protesting.
For Netanyahu, what people demand doesn’t matter!
Protestors, as well as many political experts in and out of Israel, believe that restricting the authorities of the Supreme Court by giving parts of its power to the Parliament is against democratic values and it will only empower the government to further take and legalize extreme decisions. But despite all the demands of so many Israelis for so many days for canceling the bill, Netanyahu still seems to be deaf and blind to what people in Israel really want.
Passing this bill has in fact been one of the main priorities of Netanyahu and his governing coalition of far-right and ultra-Orthodox religious parties. It was on this past Tuesday that the Israeli parliament presented the bill to overrule Supreme Court rulings and it could practically pass the first reading of it, a move that would take the bill one step further ahead in becoming law.
But that was not all of Tuesday’s session of the Israeli Parliament; in addition to introducing the above-mentioned bill, members of the Knesset also advanced another bill that would make it harder to remove the prime minister over the corruption charges that still hang over him.
This was what many critics of Netanyahu and his government warned about for weeks; They believe that Netanyahu is in fact trying to escape justice by supporting the decisions of his far-right extremist ministers. The 74-year-old Prime Minister of Israel is charged with bribery, fraud, and breach of trust by him and close political allies within his inner circle.
The Israel Police investigation against Netanyahu started in December 2016. As a result of their investigation, police even recommended indictments against Netanyahu.
The bill, if passed into law, would allow the Knesset to declare a prime minister unfit for the position only for physical or mental reasons and would replace current law that leaves doors open for a leader to be removed under other circumstances, including the charges that exist against Netanyahu.
Israel’s President, unsuccessful in turning the table
Realizing the gravity of the situation and the potential drawbacks of the protests for the entire political system of Israel, Israel’s president Isaac Herzog warned on Wednesday that Israel was at a turning point and stressed he had been involved in mediation efforts and speaking with “thousands of people” for weeks. “A civil war is a red line,” the president said, adding that “I won’t let that happen at any cost or any way.” Herzog said Israel was “in the depths of a real crisis” but also “in front of a huge opportunity” and “at a fork in the road”.
To settle down the unrest in Israel, Herzog even tried to find a middle ground and unveiled alternative modifications to the judiciary to be replaced by the extreme changes that Netanyahu and his government plan to make. Herzog’s plan would see the selection committee include three ministers, the president of the high court, two judges, and two civil servants who will be agreed upon by the president of the supreme court and the justice minister of Israel.
The plan, however, was strongly rejected by Netanyahu, claiming that the key clauses of what Herzog proposed “only perpetuate the current situation”. Pushing back against Netanyahu after he rejected the proposed compromise from Herzog, protestors in Jerusalem once again took to the streets this Thursday.