Calcalist Publisher Yoel Esteron

The National Economic Conference
You want democracy? Wake up!

“Those who dream of a ‘strong leader’, who despise civil rights and believe in a state of Jewish religious law will not be able to eliminate democracy if the drowsy majority, tired of poor politics, comes out of its indifference,” said Calcalist’s Publisher Yoel Esteron

In early 2017, shortly after Donald Trump entered the White House, the Washington Post added a sentence, a sort of motto, under its logo: "Democracy dies in the dark." The paper's editors took the unusual step after the president-elect of the United States issued an inciting and repulsive tweet against the American press. Trump tweeted: "The FAKE NEWS media is not my enemy, it is the enemy of the American People." Rivers of bad blood, incitement and agitation have flowed in the veins of American and Israeli democracy for the past five years. Today, unfortunately, it can be stated that the Washington Post was wrong. Democracies can die even in daylight, in bright sunlight, and not just in the dark.
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הוועידה הלאומית הכלכלית יואל אסתרון מול כלכליסט וידאו
הוועידה הלאומית הכלכלית יואל אסתרון מול כלכליסט וידאו
Calcalist Publisher Yoel Esteron
(Photo: Yariv Katz)
Is Israeli democracy dead? Of course not. But is it dying, God forbid? Well, it’s not dying. But is Israel’s democracy healthy, strong, relaxed and confident? The answer is clear. The greatest threat to the State of Israel is autoimmune - an extremely dangerous self-attack on the foundations of democracy - and it’s happening in broad daylight, in prime time, in front of the cameras, in the sewer networks known as social networks, and in the bullying streets.
It is hard to believe that the leader of the opposition, and defendant #1, wants to impose a dictatorial regime here. Netanyahu is an intellectual with a deep knowledge of history. He knows that non-democracies are sinking and collapsing, because there is no economy and growth, no education and no security when there is no democracy. The common explanation is that the defendant is willing to harm democracy, only to the extent necessary to extricate himself from the accused’s bench.
But, the slope is known to be slippery. Netanyahu has been working in recent years, since he was put on trial, according to the unwritten guide for the elimination of democracy drafted by Putin, Erdogan, Orban, and even Trump: mark political rivals as enemies from within the country who want to destroy the country, undermine and disrupt the foundations of government and it’s checks and balances, attack the watchdogs, and especially the law enforcement systems and the free press. Go for the head of anyone who dares to oppose your moves. The thugs, fans and instigators will complete the job.
Netanyahu himself cannot destroy democracy. He rides the tiger of the despisers of democracy who were raised and educated without civics classes on equality before the law, among other things. In Israeli society, there are communities that prefer a state of halakhah (rule of religious Jewish law); while some people dream of a "strong leader". And there are quite a few citizens for whom civil rights are less important than personal security and livelihood. But, nonetheless, and despite the distorted picture we have been looking at recently, it can be assumed, or hoped, that most Israelis want to live in a democracy.
Therefore, the heart of the problem is not Bibi, not even Bibism. At the heart of the problem is the tired, unconscious majority, who are fed up with Israeli politics, who have no strength for the disgusting fights in the Knesset, who prefer a drama series on Netflix or a stupid reality show on one of the local TV networks of Keshet or Reshet.

This is the last call, and in fact the last call in a series of calls, to Israelis who want to live in a democracy: wake up! Left, center, right, Arabs and Jews - your democracy does not have an insurance policy. Your life here can not be taken for granted. Israel does not have a constitution that can protect you like in the United States (and we have seen that it can also be sabotaged there); And there is no long tradition of parliamentary democracy here as in Britain (where a prime minister resigns even without an indictment). If you want democracy - wake up! Democracy has taken hard blows in recent years, but it is not dead. It is still possible to revive and save it. If only you would wake up.
First published: 14:32, 11.07.22