To our sisters and brothers in the Diaspora:
A trinity of respected names on the Left: Matti Friedman, Yossi Klein Halevi, and Daniel Gordis, penned a blog post in the Times of Israel imploring Diaspora Jews to “support Israel” by joining the fight against the “judicial revolution” and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s democratically elected government.
They invited Diaspora Jews to learn more about the far Left’s narrative against the government in a Zoom seminar hosted by a TOI deputy editor, which will host leaders of the protests.
We do not expect much critical pushback against the leftwing narrative from that unbalanced panel. Nor is this the first time this unholy trinity of the left has called on Diaspora Jews to interfere and save the Left from the results of Israel’s democratic election.
They question the legitimacy of the vote and the electoral system which didn’t yield the results they wanted.
The Right Won the Popular Vote
First we must address a technical point: the Left argues that the coalition secured only 48.4% of the popular vote, implying that the majority of the citizens oppose this government.
But that argument also means the inverse, namely that the opposition in the Knesset won less than 42% of the total popular vote.
Now, it’s true that in a reality without the 3.25% vote threshold, if we added parties like Meretz, the Pirates, the Socialists, and the Marijuana Leaf, the gap would have been smaller. But one must keep in mind that other parties that failed to cross the threshold would have been natural allies of the coalition.
So, without the lost votes, the gap of roughly 6.4% between Left and Right stays. Therefore, out of 4,764,742 “kosher” votes in the 2022 election, 2,306,136 Israelis voted for the coalition parties, compared with only 2,001,192 who went with the opposition, including the Arab parties. That’s a difference of 304,944 voters. To give you an idea: the entire city of Haifa’s population is only about 290,000.
And so, even if we count almost every unsuccessful party in 2022 as automatically leftist (which is far from true), there is no doubt that the right won the popular vote.
You can explore the election results yourself at the link and decide which of the dozens of failed parties with a just few hundred votes each would have been for or against the coalition.
Right-Wing Voters Wanted Judicial Reforms
The TOI article raises numerous dubious claims, but one falsehood about the elections stands out: the trinity’s assertion that the Netanyahu government came to power “only after concealing from the electorate the sweeping nature of its plans.”
Did Israeli voters not have a clear understanding of the government’s intentions before the November 1, 2022 elections?
An op-ed by Kobi Perez of the ZOA, published on July 3, 2022 in JewishPress.com, headlined “Israel’s First Priority: Supreme Court Reform,” clearly highlights the Israeli right’s commitment to reforming the Supreme Court following the elections. Perez wrote, “The Israeli right has promised that their first order of business after the election will be to reform Israel’s Supreme Court.”
Seems pretty clear and not concealed at all.
But what about the sweeping nature of those plans? Were they really hidden from the average Israeli citizen?
An in-depth interview with MK Simcha Rothman published on October 30, 2022, on the eve of the election, in JewishPress.com, thoroughly outlines the coalition’s plans for reforms in the judicial system and many other areas as well. if you haven’t already read it, we highly recommend you do.
The electorate was well-informed about the comprehensive reforms the coalition intended to undertake if it won.
Now, the JewishPress.com isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, and so, we may need to enlist reports from the Leftwing and Progressive media to make our point, so the Diaspora Jews understand that the Israeli electorate was fully aware of who and what they were voting for.
For instance, a detailed report from the Times of Israel by Carrie Keller-Lynn on July 31, 2022, was headlined, “Likud’s judicial reform plan seeks to end ‘rule by judges’ and constrain the AG.” The reporter details Likud’s openly disclosed plans for judicial reform, well before the elections.
The article quotes Yariv Levin, who is described as “particularly close to Netanyahu,” advocating for substantial policy changes that he deems a “fundamental change.”
Not much of a secret there.
The Times of Israel even reported on the reforms back in June 2022, in an article headlined “Opposition previews plans to remake composition of the Supreme Court.”
While it’s true that many Times of Israel articles exhibit a clear bias against judicial reform, such as the October 22, 2022 article, “Smotrich launches bid to neuter judiciary, potentially halt ally Netanyahu’s trial,” they nevertheless dealt openly and well ahead of the vote with the right-wing’s plan to reform the judicial system. For a blogger in the TOI, which is on the record with several reports on the coming reform, to claim that Israeli voters were uninformed about the government’s plans is simply a lie.
Matti Friedman, Yossi Klein Halevi, and Daniel Gordis are making claims that are not supported even by their own publication.
Mind you, all of the above citations were from English language publications. The Hebrew language press was saturated in the months leading up to the election with articles on the Likud and Religious Zionism plans to introduce substantial changes to the justice system.
Why even then-Justice Minister Gideon Sa’ar offered a very long and well written platform on all the many changes he would enact regarding the courts and the AG’s position. Sa’ar has since deleted those eloquent texts, but, as you well know, the Internet doesn’t forget. And we picked them all up in a May 2 article headlined, Opposition Party’s Judicial Reform Matches Levin/Rothman and then Some. And don’t get us started on the judicial reform’s proposed by members of Avigdor Liberman’s party.
Dear Diaspora Jews, Israelis knew for whom and for what agenda they voted. Much like their Western brethren, Israelis on the right desire democracy, separation of powers, implementing the elected government’s policies without deep-state bureaucratic interference, all of which will be possible once the anti-democratic judicial revolution that was introduced by Supreme Court President Aharon Barak is subdued via democratic legislation.
Right-wing Israelis want to restore the balance of power among the branches of government, and they reject being held hostage by a small group of anarchists who blackmail the country’s economy and security.
A vibrant democracy, in a few more years, Israel will head to the polls again. If most citizens disapprove of the changes, they can hand the reins back to the left and the Supreme Court. But support for democratic ideals is strong in Israel, and the vast majority want to uphold it, despite the extortion tactics, abuse, harassment and lies of the anarchists and the privileged.