. . HUMAN RIGHTS . .
The Israeli government, led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, approved a law days ago that reduced the power of the Supreme Court of Justice to challenge government decisions, starting a dangerous path of weakening the most fundamental institutions of a country.
Israeli citizens protest against the reform proposed by Prime Minister Ohad Zwigenberg – AP
The ruling coalition is the most far-right in Israel’s 75-year history. Among its ranks are members of ultra-Orthodox parties, more interested in accentuating the Jewish identity of the State of Israel than in preserving its democratic component. In addition, members of the cabinet have been accused of supporting terrorist organizations, as well as being confessed homophobes who have called for violence against Palestinian populations.
Reforms to the judicial system have triggered protests never before seen in Israel. For more than 30 weeks, hundreds of thousands of protesters defy rain, cold or heat, opposing a reform that they simply consider a coup d’état.
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Western democracies such as France and Germany added their criticism. The US president, Joe Biden, after 50 years of unconditional support for Israel, has personally demanded that Netanyahu stop the initiative and agree with the opposition on a reform that does not alter democracy. The move was also met with disappointment by many Jewish organizations in the United States such as the American Jewish Committee and the Anti-Defamation League.
Within the Israeli government coalition there are voices and initiatives that would reduce the rights of the country’s minorities, mainly Palestinians with Israeli nationality, but also the rights of women and LGBTQ groups, among others.
Many analysts agree that, in line with what happened in Hungary, Poland or Turkey, where the concentration of power makes it almost impossible to remove the president despite holding elections, Israel would thus seek to progressively abandon its democratic character, essential to maintain strong ties with the West and, particularly, with its greatest ally in the world, the United States.
As Raanan Rein, the prestigious Israeli historian and former vice president of Tel Aviv University, explained, many coups are no longer carried out with tanks in the streets, but through the progressive erosion of individual liberties, through the domination of Justice, the media and the educational system.
If we continue on this path, the social fracture could be very detrimental to the country. Military reservists are threatening not to report to duty, the country’s largest doctors’ association has declared a 24-hour strike in protest of the vote and union groups are threatening force.
The sector that opposes the reform is made up mainly of groups of enormous economic weight, such as technology. Moody’s risk rating agency has already warned about the “negative consequences” of the reform. Following the vote, four Israeli daily newspapers published a large black spot on their front pages with the phrase “A black day for Israeli democracy.”
It is imperative that the Israeli government reconsider its progress on Justice, avoid further damage to its international prestige and the cohesion of its population with the aim of maintaining a plural society, a modern economy and a political system aligned with the democracies of the West, according to with the provisions of its declaration of independence.
(Thank you to Other News for sending this article to CPNN.)