Protests In Israel

Mass demonstrations are rocking Israel currently. Tens of thousands of protesters took to the streets in defiance of Netanyahu’s new right wing government and their plans to reign in the judiciary (CNN). Detractors say this move will destroy the balance of power and limit the ability of the Judges to rule on decrees by the Knesset, the Israeli parliamentary body (aljazeera).

The new coalition government is staffed by hardliners and Orthodox leaders, some with past convictions for graft or accepting bribes (Times of Israel). The “reforms” will give Netanyahu and his coalition free reign.

One of the more interesting appointees is Bezalel Smotrich. He now holds the post of finance minister, minister within the Defense Ministry. Smotrich is a co-sponsor of proposed legislation change stating that sources of Jewish religious tradition such as the Torah have to be considered when dealing with legal matters that cannot be decided by legislation or court rulings. Smotrich was raised in a Jewish settlement in the West Bank by his Orthodox Rabbi father. He was arrested in 2005, while in possession of 700 litres of gasoline, on suspicion of participating in an attempt to blow up Ayalon Highway, a major arterial road. This was in protest to the planned Israeli pullout from the Gaza Strip.

It seems like a great blow to Israeli democracy is manifesting itself as Netanyahu’s hardliners consolidate control. No organization is safe.

Related: “Opinion: Netanyahu’s ‘reforms’ are threatening the very foundations of Israel’s democracy” by Dan Perry – CNN