Photo Credit: YouTube screenshot
Minister Ofir Akunis (Likud) on the ‘Patriots,’ July 15, 2023.

Minister of Technology and Science Ofir Akunis (Likud) was a guest on Channel 14’s “Patriots” Saturday night, against the background of continued judicial reform legislation and the wave of protests, and made clear that the legislation will push on, because, “We have to keep what we promised the public.”

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On calls for refusing reserves service, Akunis said: “The army is under the control of the government, this is Yitzhak Rabin’s law. I have great respect for all the fighters, but we draw the line at their saying on behalf of the military reservists that they don’t accept the people’s vote or the army’s basic law.”

Basic law: The Army was passed by the first Rabin government in 1976, following the recommendations of the Agranat Committee that investigated the systemic failures during the 1973 Yom Kippur War. The law declares that the IDF is the state’s army, followed immediately by the statement: The army is subject to the command of the government.

Journalist Ben Caspit on Friday tweeted an image of a row of IAF pilots above a picture of the Netanyahu government on the day it was sworn in, with the caption: Whom to choose? A Dilemma. It was possibly the most fascistic and militaristic statement by someone who is part of Israel’s mainstream media – and yet, it got 3,332 likes over Shabbat, out of 357k views. You thought the left was dangerous? You ain’t seen nothing yet.

Akunis, whose neighbor in a north Tel Aviv neighborhood was arrested for installing a camera outside the minister’s living room and reporting his movements to the protesters, said this violation crossed a red line.

“I don’t see any problem with demonstrations,” Akinis told host Yinon Magal. “I also demonstrated in the past, demonstrations are a cornerstone of democracy. But breaking the law is not a cornerstone. The camera was one of the acts that crossed red lines. The square next to my house is blocked for hours, and no one from the police tries to clear this road. Just four days ago, in a nearby neighborhood (where the AG lives) there was strict adherence to the 300-meter distance according to law, and witnesses say they moved them even further. I have no objection to demonstrating, the law must be kept.”

Akunis clarified that the legislation will continue both this week and during the winter session after the high holidays. “If we surrender here, Israeli democracy will come to an end,” he said. “Such events must not influence the government not to act. We are not allowed to surrender, and we have to fulfill what we promised the public, and at this moment it is passing the reasonability clause amendment in the second and third reading.”

He added: “Our entry into this event was not good. During the first four months, we were shell-shocked. We didn’t appreciate the huge amount of money, the advertising agencies that were enlisted, and the scope of organization of the other side. Many of my friends in Likud admit that we did not arrive prepared for the event. We have drawn our conclusions since.”

About his feelings following the discovery of the camera that was installed in front of his living room, Minister Akunis said: “The last word has not been said yet. When a person invades my privacy in my living room and then says he did it to know when I leave and come back, that’s why he pointed a camera at the living room? I don’t know him and I have no interest in getting to know him.”

Perhaps that last statement should be our mantra.


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David writes news at JewishPress.com.