Violence is in the air. The streets are simmering, and political arsonists are running loose. Millions feel cornered, threatened, and above all abused. Every other day another reactionary lawmaker unveils a new provocation, eager to impress his following and spite everyone else.
One plans the Israel Broadcast Corporation’s dismemberment, another wants to defund cultural events on Shabbat, a third wants to segregate the sexes in national parks, and a fourth calls for the opposition leader’s arrest.
Millions feel targeted, collectively and personally, as Israel’s judicial pillars teeter and its political nerves fray. As the judicial-reform blueprint’s sponsors should have anticipated, but apparently did not, their arrogance ignited mass demonstrations.
Then, like Pharaoh after the first plague, the unperturbed prime minister further provoked the Supreme Court and its defenders by showing up in Shas’s parliamentary headquarters in order to depict Arye Deri as the judiciary’s victim.
“Your return,” he told the convicted bribe taker, “is a national necessity.” That the High Court of Justice had just ruled that Deri lied to a judge in a plea bargain evidently means nothing to the man at the Jewish state’s helm.
Benjamin Netanyahu’s religious allies were equally defiant. “We are all here with you,” said Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich. Moshe Gafni was even more obsequious: “Rabbi (sic) Deri, you are staying here, we are with you; even if you won’t want to stay – stay you will.”
Across the country, Middle Israelis were pulling their hair out. What ever happened to “you shall not deal deceitfully or falsely with one another” (Leviticus 19:11), as Deri did with his judge? Evidently, it went where “you shall not steal” and “you shall not take bribes” went in Deri’s case, and where “you shall not commit adultery” went in Netanyahu’s case.
As the anti-judicial coalition sees things, the moral laws that ancient Israel gave mankind don’t apply to their leader and his viceroy of choice. If it’s up to them, there will be many more such exemptions soon, as they handpick judges and tell them what to do.
Understandably, then, leaders of the pro-judiciary struggle see no alternative to full-scale revolt. Talking with Netanyahu, said one of them, is like negotiating the length of your hangman’s rope. Negotiating with the judiciary’s enemies would be morally unjust and politically impractical, they say. Well, they are wrong. (SOURCE)