Protest in Tel Aviv.

Keep on fighting for Israeli democracy

Calcalist Editorial: The struggle must continue, and it will succeed. Without it, Israel will not become Poland or Hungary; it is on its way to becoming Iran

Benjamin Netanyahu's coalition, the most terrible, dangerous, and extreme in the country's history, voted today in favor of destroying democracy.
The vote was only the first step in a huge and frightening strategic move, the likes of which no one dared to predict. It was a cruel move with its cynical creativity and the uncompromising determination of its leaders, aimed at taking over government institutions and crushing the democratic regime in the State of Israel. In its place will come a theocratic, messianic, extreme nationalist, misogynistic, and homophobic regime, which may be wrapped in a meaningless shell of "democracy," but in its essence will trample on civil liberties and rights, proper administration, and liberal values.
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תל אביב קפלן הפגנה הפגנת מחאה מחאת מפגינים מפגינות מוחים מוחות מהפכה משפטית דגלים דגלי ישראל
תל אביב קפלן הפגנה הפגנת מחאה מחאת מפגינים מפגינות מוחים מוחות מהפכה משפטית דגלים דגלי ישראל
Protest in Tel Aviv.
(Jack Guez/AFP)
Make no mistake, this was not an ideological vote. Although the title was "reasonableness," this is an invention born out of nowhere for political needs, as just four months ago, the direct attempt to take over the Supreme Court failed. No one was bothered by the concept of reasonableness before, and the vote on it was a contrary, defiant vote, to show who is in control. Those who raised their hands in favor did so out of fear of what would happen to them if they hesitated. They feared the poisonous machine of hatred that would be directed towards them and their immediate political future. They were not concerned about the lack of reasonableness; they were afraid for themselves and abused their power as elected officials.
The meaning of today's vote is a dramatic violation of the contract between the state and its citizens. Until today, the premise was that we, the citizens, would fulfill our duties, uphold the law, go to work, pay taxes, serve in the army, and send our children to do the same, and in return, the state would work to benefit us, improve our standard of living, maintain our security, and guarantee our freedom and the future of our children. However, in today's vote, the coalition preferred petty politics of power over the interests of the citizens. The lust for trampling its opponents overcame the need for compromise.
This is a great danger, far beyond the fate of the High Court rulings under the new law. Once the contract has been violated and the status quo broken, everything is allowed - for both sides. The extremists of the coalition will rush to ride on the success and deepen the rift. They will seek to occupy more territory, leaving no way back to sanity. It is not for nothing that they declare the following planned steps: removing the Attorney General, crushing ministry legal advisors, taking over the committee for selecting judges, and occupying the civil service.
The citizens, for their part, will continue to fight, and as a result, they will turn their backs on more and more conventions that were, until recently, completely taboo. It is no coincidence that in the last six months, for the first time, stopping volunteering for the military reserves became legitimate even in the patriotic, all-Israeli mainstream. Not by chance, for the first time, taking money out of the country became legitimate, visible, and almost required. Not by chance, for the first time, Israeli patriotism is no longer sacred, and bows to the need of the individual to defend himself. The citizens realized that the state is not obligated to them, and therefore they are no longer obligated to it, certainly not to the extent that they were before.
It is dangerous because it is not certain that it can be repaired. The bar has been lowered, and everyone now understands how low it can still go.
But after all this, it is important to remember that the struggle is far from over. The battle will continue because a large majority of the public understands that it cannot allow the government to continue deteriorating its situation in the name of an extreme ideology. A large majority of the public has learned how much power citizens have from the moment they are willing to go out and fight for their principles. The government also realized, despite its technical victory today, that another step down this path will only become more difficult and will come at much higher economic, political, security, and political prices. It is not certain that it will be in a hurry to continue rushing forward with its plans.
The problems and deep divisions of opinion in Israeli society have been exposed in the last six months, and that's a good thing. When the dust settles, they will still be lying on the surface, visible, exposed, and painful. Eventually, they will demand care, treatment, and reaching a compromise on a path that will ensure the continued existence of the State of Israel. It is necessary to draw an agreed border between religion and secularism, between conservatism and liberalism, between nationalism and equal rights for all citizens.
This will not happen without the continued commitment of the brave citizens who took to the streets in the last six months and fought with their bodies and souls for the country they love. This will not happen without the civil organizations, the determined gatekeepers, the reservists, the dedicated techies, and the business entities that were not afraid to stand tall, even at the cost of harm to themselves. The struggle must continue, and it will succeed. Without it, Israel will not become Poland or Hungary; it is on its way to becoming Iran.