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.
Helen Shardey OAM
ARZA Australia President
Ben Lipert James
ARZA Australia Vice-President