Thomas Friedman opined that Benjamin Netanyahu’s reform would make Israel “more like elected autocracies.” By trying to politicize the Supreme Court, King “Bibi” is following the example of modern tyrants. Like its Western counterparts, Israel’s Supreme Court is very powerful, as its rulings cannot be challenged. Netanyahu seeks to increase the power of politicians over judges and diminish the role of the Supreme Court. With the reform, Israel’s Parliament could overrule the Court’s decisions with a simple majority.
The power of the opposition. The opposition protests, supported by universities, unions and reservists, reached their zenith on Monday, March 27: hospitals abandoned to provide care -except for emergencies-, planes were grounded at the country’s main airport and shopping centers and banks closed . The support of the cited organizations is the difference between successful and failed protest movements. The split was also visible in Netanyahu’s cabinet. Over the past weekend, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant spoke out against the proposed reform and was fired. Said dismissal occurred the latest protests in the country, which in turn forced Netanyahu to stop his planes.
Rule in Israel. Israel is a representative democracy with a parliamentary system and universal suffrage; It is one of the few countries that, with a single-district parliamentary election, applies the D’Hondt system. The prime minister, appointed by the majority of the Knesset, acts as head of government. Since 1948, the year of the end of the British protectorate and the proclamation of the State, being head of government has been a complex and difficult task: a party could never have a majority in the Knesset, so the prime minister always emerged from an agreement. Israel has been characterized by having multiple political disputes. Added to the left-right duel is the confessional-secular duel and the war between Israelis and Arabs for a territory with religious symbolism. The fragmentation came to Parliament in 2014 and with new parties: since then it has become even more difficult to form a government and maintain the favor of 61 out of 120 parliamentarians.
The extreme right and Bibi. The targeted fragmentation has led to four elections in five years. In this context, Netanyahu has become the political benchmark around which all decisions, both electoral and government, revolve, and he is the prime minister who has held office the longest without interruption. That power has sustained him from an alliance between his party and others from the extreme nationalist and orthodox right; This fraction is the one that tries to impose the judicial reform, which is very convenient for “Benja” due to his charges of fraud and bribery in progress.
The selection. The impressive events of the last few weeks in this small – but crucial – country in the East are a rebuke to those who believe that democracy is a dying system. It’s that history is littered with dictatorships established by people who first came to power through legal means. “First use the law to gain power, then use power to circumvent the law.”
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