Photo Credit: Gili Yaari /Flash 90
Thousands of Israeli protesters rally against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's new government in Tel Aviv, January 21, 2023.

After three years of political instability and frequent draws at the ballot box, the right-wing bloc in Israel, led by the most gifted and indefatigable politician in Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, took advantage of the political disarray on the left and turned another 60-60 mandate draw into a 64-56 coalition in the Knesset. Now comes the hard part, where Israelis are asking themselves to which camp they belong if any, as do the winner and the losers in the Knesset.

This political identity crisis has led to Netanyahu’s anticipated capitulation to the High Court of justice’s ruling making his Interior and Health Minister Aryeh Deri unfit to serve. Bibi will most likely reach some deal with Deri and his 11 Knesset seats, and sack the Shas chairman. The same identity crisis marked Friday’s decision by Defense Minister Yoav Gallant to demolish a new outpost in Samaria, taking command of the Civil Administration in the territories which, according to the coalition agreements between Bezalel Smotrich and Netanyahu should be under the former’s domain. According to Sunday morning reports, the defense minister is preventing the transfer of power over the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories into the hands of Smotrich.


The left, too, is having its identity crisis. According to reports, the left’s rally against Justice Minister Yariv Levin’s “judicial revolution” (he prefers “judicial reform”) on Saturday night drew 100 thousand protesters in Tel Aviv, some 7 thousand in Haifa––in two separate Jewish and Arab rallies, one in the Jewish section uphill, the other for the Arabs in the lower city––and some 4 thousand in Jerusalem, a majority right-wing city.

Why was the demonstration an expression of the left’s identity crisis? Because on Saturday night the week before, their rally drew 80 thousand, and Israeli media’s echo chamber has been pushing this second rally with all the excitement and support they could muster. The fact is, if the left wants to seriously harm judicial reform, it must find a way to bring a million protesters to the streets, which they can’t. Not because the police won’t let them, heck, the police have been kind and loving to the demonstrators – nothing like the rough and violent treatment they have been giving Haredi, Ethiopian, and Arab demonstrators.

The left will not draw a million Jews to the streets next Saturday night because they don’t have them. Remember, the old Yair Lapid coalition is also comprised of two parties that brand themselves center-right. Avigdor Liberman refuses to join a rally where Palestinian flags can be spotted here and there, and the same goes for Gideon Sa’ar. The fact is, today’s Jewish leftist coalition is not 56-MKs strong, it’s more likely in the low 40s. So, 100 thousand is all they will get, as I see it.

The other issue is the Chicken Little factor. The writer David Grossman gave the keynote speech on Kaplan Street Saturday night and said to the thunderous applause of the audience: “Behind the regime reform we see a burning house. I refuse to be an exile in my country.”

Seriously? Here are the key points of the Levin “burning house” agenda:

  • A Knesset committee will interview candidates for the Supreme Court.
  • The committee to select judges will now have a majority of elected officials (more coalition, fewer opposition members) as opposed to a majority of judges.
  • The legal counselors in every government ministry will be selected by the ministers, to help them push their legislative agenda in keeping with the law.
  • The disqualification of laws by the high court will be regulated. The court may no longer question the Knesset Basic Laws, which are Israel’s equivalent to a constitution. Courts don’t change constitutions.
  • The High Court may no longer use the “extremely unreasonable” argument to invalidate perfectly legal government action.

The left understands that these changes would take away its domination of the legal system, and with it its domination over the country. Controlling the decisions of majority-right governments is their only means of still controlling the country while their demographics are dwindling fast. People who don’t look like them, with a different set of values than theirs are going to run the country, and the only way the left could stop them would be at the ballot box, which they cannot do.

If the left could bring a million angry Israelis to the streets, it probably would have won the last election. It can’t. So it cries the blues, and in an enlisted media echo chamber, this mistakenly looks like resistance. It’s not. It’s the whining of the entitled.


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