The law that gives the Israeli government more power by limiting the power of the Supreme Court has caused great discontent in Israel for several months. Hundreds of thousands have taken to the streets every week to protest the plan, which demonstrators say is effectively killing democracy in Israel. Protesters’ anger came to a head when Defense Minister Yoav Gallant turned against the law and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that he would be fired.
Gallant faced intense discontent among the armed forces. Reservists from various Army units threatened to stop showing up if the law was passed. Gallant said this would seriously undermine Israel’s security. He demanded in a speech to stop dealing with the law to face the disturbances in society. Then, on March 26, Netanyahu said he would fire Galant. What followed was a day of nationwide demonstrations and strikes. That forced Netanyahu to suspend the law.
About the author
Joram Paul is the general correspondent for De Volkskrant.
Meanwhile, Gallant took little notice of his announced resignation and said he was awaiting official confirmation; Keep working. Netanyahu and Gallant were reported to visit two military bases on Monday evening as part of the Jewish holiday of Passover, which begins on Wednesday evening.
Easter and Ramadan
Easter coincides with the month of Ramadan this year. During that month, tensions between Palestinians and Israeli forces rose regularly. In previous years, for example, there were confrontations at the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem – so there is no time to be left without a defense minister, Netanyahu seems to reason. According to Israeli media, a compromise was reached between the prime minister and the minister who should apologize. Gallant only wants to do it for the sake of timing, not content.
The Israeli opposition criticizes half of the role for Netanyahu. Gallant’s predecessor, Benny Gantz, tweeted that there should be no ambiguity about the situation and called for the resignation to be reversed entirely. Israel’s security is not a test for a series or a movie. The citizens of Israel need a permanent defense minister. Not in the future now.
Whether the temporary withdrawal of Gallant’s resignation will lead to more peace in Israel is questionable. In addition, the controversial law itself was not repealed, but only postponed. Negotiations are underway to reach a compromise.
Netanyahu and his government want to be able to overturn Supreme Court decisions. They also want politicians to have more influence over the composition of the court. Opponents of the new law fear that minorities will eventually suffer if the government is unleashed.
Israel has a single legislature and no constitution. This limits democratic checks and balances. The Supreme Court tests government policy against a series of Basic Laws that act de facto as a constitution. For this reason, many protesters say the Supreme Court is important in protecting democratic values against a far-right government.
The uproar over the new law is not only causing unrest in Israel. The Allies have also indicated that they do not support reform. US President Joe Biden told Netanyahu that he “cannot continue on this path.” Then Netanyahu warned Biden against interfering in internal Israeli affairs.
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