The streets in Tel Aviv are getting more crowded – in protest!
By David E. Kaplan
It was first 10,000 then followed the next Saturday night by 80,000 and last Saturday night the protests in Tel Aviv grew to well over 110,000 – all in support of “Democracy” following the government’s proposed overhaul of the country’s Supreme Court. What the government touts as “reform” is not shared by a rising public who well versed in the Bible identify it as a “poisoned apple”!
Disparaging this public concern for safeguarding democracy, veteran journalist for The Jerusalem Post, Ruthie Blum, dismisses the protests as “the NOISE of the minority of disgruntled demonstrators.” (Jan 20)
– Was it “NOISE” when the former Prime Minister, Yair Lapid says: “What you see here today is a demonstration in favor of the country. People who love this country came here to defend it, its democracy and its courts”?
-Was it “NOISE” when Israeli Prize Laurette for literature, David Grossman, whose books have been translated into 30 languages said from the podium in one of the busiest intersections in Tel Aviv opposite the Azrieli Center:
“I am beginning to feel a foreigner in my own country” and “What you see here today is a demonstration in favor of the country. People who love this country came here to defend it; its democracy and it’s courts”?
-Was it “noise” when former Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said “A state in which the prime minister will appoint all of the judges, there’s a name for it: dictatorship”?
-Was it “NOISE” when High-tech CEO Eynat Guez told the rally that foreign investment into Israeli companies – a key ingredient to Israel’s high-tech sector’s success – will be threatened if Israel’s democracy is eroded? She warned that a change to the Israeli climate that attracted $54 billion in foreign money in investment in the last 3 years, could turn away future investment threatening “tens of thousands of workers” in the high tech industry.
-Was it “NOISE” when Dina Zilber, a former deputy attorney general, cautioned “If you’re the government, think very well what caused all of these people to get off of their chairs and come here tonight”?
-Was it “NOISE” when Shaul Meridor, a former senior Treasury official and son of former Likud minister Dan Meridor, said “This isn’t about Arab or Jew, religious or secular; this is our house that we have to protect.”
Adding to this “NOISE” was the Bank of Israel Governor Prof. Amir Yaron who amid multiple warnings that the judicial reform will harm Israel economically, met at the office of the Prime Minister and warned Netanyahu that the planned judicial reform could harm Israel’s credit score. According to Walla, he soberly cautioned:
“The world is worriedly following the developments that may distance international companies from investing in the country.”
Appearing unfazed by this “NOISE”, the Prime Minister plods on, even though, some years ago he is on record opposing such very reform he now proposes. On trial for corruption, Netanyahu has made the legal changes the centerpiece of his new government’s agenda, and the surging opposition to them is presenting an early challenge for the Israeli leader, who has become more reliant on the most extreme elements of his coalition, as his once-loyal allies have deserted him.
The stage is set for two diverse visions of Israel’s future.
To the supporters of Netanyahu and Justice Minister Yariv Levin’s proposed judicial reform, let me repeat as I have said in my two previous articles, (WHAT DO ISRAEL’S PM AND US HOUSE LEADER HAVE IN COMMON? And ISRAEL UNDER THREAT FROM ITSELF) Israel does not have either a constitution nor the two tier branches of government so characteristic of democracies – an upper and lower house like the UK and the US providing the checks and balances. We have only one house – the legislature or the Knesset – and a Supreme Court and a feisty one at that. If we truly treasure democracy we should cherish and protect it instead of storming it like the proverbial Bastille!
Yes, it’s going to get even “noisier” until we decide how we want to move forward for an Israel that is not only military but judiciously secure.
With an ‘uproar in the house’ – our Knesset – maybe the time has come that instead of storming the Supreme Court to have the more serious conversation of a written constitution!
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