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Friday, Jun 09, 2023


In a dramatic U-turn against His Government: Judicial Reform Legislation Must Be Halted, Says Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant

In a de facto coup d'état, Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant joined the opposition against his government on Saturday.
He called for an immediate and temporary halt to the government's plan to democratize the judiciary, marking the first public dissent from within Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's coalition.

Gallant cited the need for dialogue with the opposition, asking Netanyahu's coalition to wait until after the Jewish Passover holiday, which begins on April 5, before pushing ahead with its plan to reform the judiciary.

He expressed concerns that the reform plans pose a threat to the country's security.

And he is right.

As Minister of Defense, he has a duty to ensure the security of the state rather than prioritize the security of the coalition.

The call for a halt to the judiciary reform legislation is rooted in an urgent and perilous situation that poses a significant threat to the continued existence of Israel as a strong, prosperous, and stable nation.

To fully comprehend the scale and gravity of the issue at hand, it is crucial to distinguish between the facts and the misleading and manipulative propaganda that both sides propagate for their own self-interest.

A small group of elite legal administrators strongly opposes the democratization of the judicial system.

They benefit from the current status quo, which grants them absolute control over Israel's so-called 'democracy' through unelected bureaucratic absolute rule, without any external or independent checks, balances, controls, limits or the need to follow any public will.

They have effectively connected with two larger groups: the 27 percent that refuses to recognize Netanyahu's victory in the elections and the wider 55 percent that is secular and rejects the idea of being governed by a government controlled by Orthodox and right-wingers.

Together, these groups have created a critical mass of effective opposition against the legitimacy of the elected government in Israel.

This opposition has even led to the refusal of some members of intelligence and elite units to serve in the army, to divide the intelligence community from within and to an active movement of TeXit: Massive and successful tech companies are looking now to relocate all their R&D outside Israel, in exchange of zero-tax and instant citizenship deal. UK, UAE and Biden Administration are looking at this opportunity seriously.

For the first time since the War of Independence, the existence of the State of Israel is threatened not by external forces but by internal disputes and mutual hatred between the 12 Jewish tribes.

This might be the third time in history. The Jewish state has collapsed twice in the past due to internal conflicts and hatred among brothers. When you think about it deeply and historically, the ongoing Arab-Jewish conflict can also be seen as a conflict rooted in the feud between Jacob and Esau, who were the grandsons of Abraham, the sons of Isaac and Rebekah.

However, the elected government refuses to freeze the legislative process because it fears that the absolute power of the judicial system, which they are trying to reform, will invent criminal cases against the ministers involved in the legislation, only to suspend them from the ability to continue to legislate until they prove their innocence.

This process of proving the fake political neutralizing takes years and has already happened 12 times in the past.

And as an Israeli poet named Yehuda Amichai once wrote, precisely in the context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but it is also very true for the current situation: in a place where everyone is right, flowers will never bloom in the spring.

To ensure the continued existence of a healthy, strong, and prosperous State of Israel, it is necessary to halt the legislation and engage in political negotiations between the coalition and the opposition.

Both sides agree on the need to reform the judicial system, but only under the condition that they are in power and can elect the judges.

However, to halt the legislation for negotiations to take place, the judicial system and all the bureaucrats who control it without any external checks, balances, or controls must sign a commitment stating that they will not demand the indictment or suspension of any members of the current government during the temporary freeze.

This commitment is crucial to ensure that halting the legislation is used for fair and open negotiations, and not as a ploy for legal bureaucrats to neutralize government members with fake criminal cases, as has happened 12 times over the past 20 years of attempted legal reform.

While I was originally supportive of the idea of reforming the judicial system, given the current circumstances, I've come to the conclusion that "If it works - don't fix it!".

Or in the words of Menachem Begin, the spiritual father of the current ruling party in Israel, "The difficulties of peace are better than the sufferings of war."

# Yariv Levin, # Benjamin Netanyahu, # Yoav Gallant, # Amir Ohana, # Shlomo Karhi, # Haim Ramon, # Prof. Yoav Sapir, # Kohelet Policy Forum, # Dr. Gadi Taub
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