On Monday, the Knesset expressed its outrage over the Israeli government’s attempt to dismantle the country’s system of checks and balances by proposing a comprehensive overhaul of the judicial system. Isaac Herzog, the Israeli President, called on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to hold off on the move and urged calm. According to the Financial Times, Herzog warned, “This powder keg is about to explode.”
Critics have accused Netanyahu’s hardline government of launching an “unrestrained attack on the justice system” and argued that the proposed changes would give the government an unchecked mandate to pass laws.
The Trends Journal has extensively reported on the ongoing protests in the country against the proposal. On January 17th, 2023, the journal covered the “LARGE-SCALE PROTESTS BREAK OUT IN ISRAEL OVER NETANYAHU’S ‘REFORM’ PLANS,” while on January 31st, 2023, it covered “NETANYAHU’S MOVE TO WEAKEN COURTS GROWING.”
Earlier this month, a video was released on YouTube that featured Rabbi Sharon Brous delivering a speech about the dangers of the judicial overhaul. As a senior rabbi of IKAR, a Jewish congregation in Los Angeles, she warned that Israel could be on the verge of a revolution and that the lurch towards illiberalism and ultranationalism should not come as a surprise to anyone.
Brous linked Israel’s treatment of Palestinians to how public opinion gave Netanyahu’s government momentum. She suggested that many Israelis view the Palestinian issue as an “Us vs. Them” situation, with Israelis fighting for what is good and Palestinians being portrayed as unvirtuous. She argued that this was not an accident but had been a long time in the making and that the silence of others was complicit.
Indeed, Brous’s prediction that Israel could experience a revolution may not be an exaggeration. The New York Times reported that former Prime Minister Yair Lapid believed that the judicial policy could dismantle democracy in Israel, while former Defense Minister Benny Gantz warned of the possibility of civil war.