All posts tagged: Netanyahu’s justice minister

Netanyahu’s Attack on Democracy Left Israel Unprepared

Netanyahu’s Attack on Democracy Left Israel Unprepared

This summer I spent several days in Israel talking with people who were afraid for their country’s future. They were not, at that moment, focused on terrorism, Gaza, or Hamas. They feared something different: the emergence of an undemocratic Israel, a de facto autocracy. In January, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his justice minister had announced a package of judicial “reforms” that, taken together, would have given their coalition government the power to alter Israeli legal institutions to their own political benefit. Their motives were mixed. Netanyahu, who is on trial for corruption, was eager to stay out of jail. Some of his coalition partners wanted courts to stop hampering their plans to create new Israeli settlements on the West Bank, others to maintain military exemptions for Orthodox religious communities. All of them were interested in doing whatever it would take to stay in power, without the hindrance of an independent judiciary. In response, Israelis created a mass movement capable of organizing long marches and enormous weekly protests, every Saturday night, in cities and towns …