Israel’s Elites Revolt Against Democracy

Malcom Dash. I agree with Gadi Taub’s Tablet article (He was a founder member of the Peace Now movement), he’s an intellectual heavyweight, as is Ran Baratz. Taub, with elegance, describes the judicial tyranny exercised by the legal establishment. There are many other right-wing intellectuals who come to the same understanding as Taub.

They too describe the problem in the same manner, as I believe many right-wing politicians, Bibi included, do. However, this is a political conflict with no chance of resolution through legal nuances. It’s past time for straight talk. The Right must leave its comfort zone—an ivory tower—of academic legal parrying for and against judicial reform.

Groups of ex-military officers, tycoons, members of the legal establishment, and mass media are leading a hysterical protest movement. They aim for a ‘peaceful’ coup of a democratically elected government but are not afraid of violence if peaceful protest fails. Don’t take my word for it, Haaretz journalist Yossi Melman wrote on 20 July,

“A military coup is underway in Israel. This is the unvarnished truth. At the same time, there is an attempt to play with words in order to avoid looking the reality in the eye. The rebels and their supporters are employing euphemisms and resorting to linguistic acrobatics rather than stating unequivocally that there is insubordination among many Israel Defense Forces reservists. They refer to it instead as “ceasing to volunteer.”

Melman went on, ” This rebellion is widespread and extends beyond the petitions that have already been signed by thousands of IDF reservists (in active duty or not), the Mossad and the Shin Bet secret service. It also exceeds the thousand or more pilots, air force technical staff, special ops personnel, elite units, Unit 8200 operatives and the technological unit of the Intelligence Branch, military doctors and more, who have not reported for reserve duty or warned that they will not report if the government’s judicial overhaul legislation, which they call regime change, is passed.”

Bibi and his government have yet to figure out that a well-funded rebellion is underway. If I’m wrong and they have figured it out, their responses have been less than stellar. Instead of passing the reforms we elected them for, they weakened them, hoping to appease the opposition and protesters. There is nothing this government can do to satisfy the insurrectionists. They want nothing less than to topple this government.

Efforts toward dialogue and compromise have failed. Bibi has to lead and provide policy solutions to put down rather than quell this military-judicial coup d’état. The Prime Minister can’t allow the Left’s violent threats to stop him from rejecting arbitrary Supreme Court rulings. And Netanyahu should require The Chiefs of Staff to resign if they refuse to pledge loyalty to the government and enforce discipline in the military.

The right-wing camp has to know that we are at a historic moment in Jewish history; a genuine threat to Jewish sovereignty is at hand, and its identity and soul are at stake. The progressive left wants to cast aside Judaism and remake Israel to resemble other secular states like France. If the progressive rebellion succeeds, Israel will lose its Jewish identity and cease to exist.

The architects of the anti-Bibi protests are clear about their motives: defending elites from the masses

By Gadi Taub, TABLET

In his New York Times opinion piece titled “The U.S. Reassessment of Netanyahu’s Government Has Begun,” Thomas Friedman wrote that he likes to say of his job that he is “a translator from English to English”: He takes complex things and renders them understandable. Israel, he explained, is turning its back on the shared values which have underpinned the friendship between the American superpower and the Jewish state. As Friedman explains it, the judicial reform proposed by Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing coalition poses a grave threat to democracy because it would “change the long-established balance of power between the government and the Supreme Court, the only independent check on political power.”

It turns out that translating from English to English may not be the most useful skill when you need to understand something that is happening in Hebrew. Friedman is right that Israel’s democracy is in danger, but Netanyahu’s government is not the source of peril. The real danger comes from the court itself, which is now asserting a made-up “right” to remove a sitting prime minister—that is, to nullify the results of a legal election and eclipse Israel’s democratic politics and institutions through its own self-perpetuating fiat. The protest movement that arose to defend the court’s power (and its backers among the country’s economic and military elite) are together attempting to block the redemocratization of Israeli politics, as the reforms intended to do.



Dear Professor,

Well, we still have not had the chance to talk; but I must tell you that I am unpersuaded by what you wrote this morning, especially in light of the recent interview of Kobi Richter and the continued ravings of Ehud Barak.

While you want to lay blame for the polarization of the country at the feet of extreme elements of the coalition—a polarization which is hateful, terrible, destructive, etc.—I think it is clear that is not the case, to wit:

1. There is simply NO JUSTIFICATION that a small group of leftist justices get to maintain the philosophical composition of the judiciary forever through a corrupt selection process, and veto power.
2. The judiciary’s self-appointed power to cancel the concept of justiciability, and arrogate to themselves the right to insert lawyers of their choosing (and philosophical persuasion) into every ministry, to control every decision, is mind-boggling.
3. While I would dearly love to have the power of exerting my notion of “reasonableness” over every government action, do you think everyone else would appreciate that.  And, since the judiciary is self-perpetuating, that power would be forever.
4. The total arrogance of the Left—BASED ON WHAT THEY SAY OUT LOUD—is so much worse than what niincompoops like Smotrich and Ben Gvir say…but you do not decry this.

All that said, I need to declare:

A. I HATE the fact that the Haredim desist from sharing the burden.
B. I sympathize with the chidren of the founders of the Yishuv, who feel the country slipping from their control…even though it is they who are anti-democratic.
C. We have a terrible form of government…give to us by a leftist who wanted to control everything…just as the Left wants to today.  I see no viable way of changing this.
D. I would much prefer to have Bibi as the PM than an empty suit like Yair Lapid.

Until really smart folks like you call out the Left, there will not be a compromise.

Shabbat Shalom,

August 20, 2023 | 4 Comments »

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4 Comments / 4 Comments

  1. Back again pointing fingers. Bibi has a lot of support in Israel and that makes other politicians jealous. Before the elections and for years now, the most elected were in agreement that the Supreme Court must be changed or at least limited in its reach.
    Nowadays, politicians are divided into pro-Bibi and the rest which includes most of the opposition and the coalition members. The best way to solve the problem would be to get rid of Bibi, but who would come next? Unfortunately, none of the opposition or the coalition has shown themselves up to the task. Their loyalty to Israel, first and foremost, is lacking and support for Bibi is also following the trajectory desired by those financing the coup and noone is around to arrest the criminals. The only instance left is the Eternal and we should all be praying fervently.

  2. Is there not an error in the title about a “populous” democracy? What’s 10 million?
    It looks as if you mean a “populist” democracy.
    Part of the trouble is the way the “orthodox” rabbinate and Yeshiva perpetual students – elites if ever there were – have extorted their cosy cuckoo’s nest.

  3. The Tablet article is and brilliant and passionate denunciation of the Israeli elite ‘s
    revolt against democracy. Even though the elite’s shameless use of Orwellian “blackwhite” turnspeak “has enabled them to lie and claim that they are supporting democracy, the author’s thorough research into the writings of the “philosophers” of the revolt has exposed this lie for what it is. He has succeeded in documenting these “philosopher’s”” contempt for Israel’s middle and working classes, and their belief that most Israel Jecannot be trusted with any say in thegovernment of the country without “guidance” from the elites.

    Gadi Taub is a giant among journalists.

  4. there won’t be any friendly agreement between both sides because each side has completely different agendas that conflict one with the other!
    One agenda can’t win without the other agenda losing!
    The problem has has from the beginning that each side is mutually
    What I will call the Left,to avoid confusion & the conservatives
    have only one thing in common with each other.
    The common thing is that they all had Jewish Mothers.
    Past that there has always been antagonism under the surface.
    The point has been reached where that antagonism has boiled up to the top!