Monthly Archives: March 2023

Collapse Of Israel’s Far Right Government From Within

Israelis protest in Tel Aviv against plans by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government to undermine Israel's judicial system Credit: Ohad Zwigenberg /AP

Israelis protest in Tel Aviv against plans by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government to undermine Israel’s judicial system Credit: Ohad Zwigenberg /AP

It has been reported that a wave of nationwide protests broke out after the firing of Defence Minister Yoav Gallant who called on the Prime Minister to stop the judicial overhaul legislative process. Gallant is a member of Netanyahu’s own party Likud, and it is stated that several other Likud lawmakers and ministers joined Gallant’s call to stop the process.

It has also been reported that Likud MKs are calling for the resignation of the Likud Justice Minister for “bringing Israel to the brink of civil war”.

So now, under enormous pressure from the Israeli population, Netanyahu is holding discussions around the possibility of freezing the judicial overhaul legislation. Within the Knesset, not only members of his own party support a halt to the process but leaders of the far-right parties like Shas also see the writing on the wall.

And it’s not just Israelis who are at risk. Jewish people around the world are caught in the crosshairs of this crisis, and fear for their survival and that of their homeland, which they believe must be sustained.

One only has to look back at the history of past Jewish states where civil weakness and in-fighting weakened our people to point of collapse.

Modern Israeli society has a fierce ability to argue and debate amongst families, friends, and strangers – it is the national sport – however now there is a massive and dangerous rift between the population and those in government.

This could be traced to the fragmentation of Israeli voters caused by the Proportional Representation system, resulting in no party being able to form majority government, but instead a far-right coalition emerged, which has managed to unite the population against its policies.

It’s ironic that Israelis are finding greater unity in the wake of this political crisis. And sad that people’s individual commitment to the fundamental ideals of democracy, equality and freedom could not be identified earlier to guide their voting choice.

Perhaps Israel needs a new voting system, one that reflects the diversity of its society, but allows for the formation of majority governments which can identify with the values of a now broader Israeli society and Israel’s Basic Laws. This may lead to greater political stability in Eretz Yisrael, something we all desire to see.

ARZA President, Helen Shardey

Helen Shardey OAM
ARZA Australia President

Ben Lipert James

Ben Lipert James
ARZA Australia Vice-President

2023-03-28T12:36:43+11:00March 28th, 2023|News|

The Diaspora Joins Israeli Brothers And Sisters To Protest With One Voice

Protesters hold Israeli flags and signs Saturday evening in Tel Aviv. (Eyal Warshavsky via Getty Images)

Protesters hold Israeli flags and signs Saturday evening in Tel Aviv. (Eyal Warshavsky via Getty Images)

I received an email from a friend in which he said that he viewed with shame the failure of our leadership to speak out against the current policies of the Government of Israel and its determination to destroy the democratic Jewish State.

I was able to respond to him that our leadership and the Jewish leadership globally, as well as in Israel, was starting to speak out very loudly and express its deep concern about the crisis in Israel which is causing so much pain in the Jewish community worldwide.

Last week I quoted the U.S. ARZA leader, Rabbi Josh Weinberg, which you may recall. He said that “Being here in Israel I felt the impending doom of the judicial revolution as if the legislative process has been shot out like a cannonball and is pummelling its way through the Knesset”.

This week the Zionist Federation of Australia and the ECAJ published a statement expressing serious concern at the Israeli Government’s proposals to make fundamental changes without public support and which risk damaging Israel’s relationship with the Diaspora Jewry.

Some thought the statement not strong enough and the criticisms not sharp enough. The worry is that it doesn’t let the government know how worried we are about its “legalised corruption”. Others were relieved that at last Jewish leaders in Australia are standing up and speaking out.

Also in Melbourne, one of our Progressive Rabbis, Allison Conyer who is President of the Assembly of Rabbis and Cantors for Australia, spoke at the “Saving Israel Democracy Demonstration”. She said that what began as a small grassroots initiative by Israelis living in San Francisco has now evolved into a global movement in over 30 cities and is an outcry from the Jewish world in solidarity with our Israeli family conveying our outrage at the proposed reforms threatening our core Jewish and democratic values upon which our Jewish homeland was built.

Rabbi Conyer went on to say that surely fighting for a Jewish homeland to uphold our values is not just permissible but obligatory and according to Benny Gantz a “civil duty”.

Finally, today I read an essay by an author, Matti Freeman, who made Aliyah from Canada in his teens. He has consistently defended Israel, so it was a rare thing for him to write with such alarm about the Netanyahu Government and the spiralling political crisis. He describes how he has seen many crises in Israel come and go, but he’s never seen politics seep so alarmingly into the psyches and private lives of his friends, with so many losing sleep and seized by fear.

He quoted a career army officer friend who is religiously observant and a political centrist who said “I’ve had governments I disagreed with, but never one that was out to get me” .

Progressive Jewish communities around Australia will be gathering next week to hear about these important issues from the UIA/Progressive Appeal guest speaker Lesley Sachs. Click here for dates/times and how to make a donation.

ARZA President, Helen Shardey

Helen Shardey OAM
ARZA Australia President
UPJ Vice President

2023-03-07T20:25:33+11:00March 7th, 2023|News|
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