Showing posts with label Israeli Knesset. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Israeli Knesset. Show all posts

Sunday, March 26, 2023

Dramatic Escalations across Israel in response to Netanyahu Action

I don't usually write two consecutive blogs in such a short period of time - but things have taken quite a turn in Israel - and it is very unclear where all of this is headed.

As I mentioned in my last blog, the Israeli Minister of Defence, Yoav Gallant, a stalwart Netanyahu supporter and high ranking member of the Likud party announced on Thursday March 23rd - that he was going to hold a press conference at 7:30 p.m.  Supposedly he was going to announce that he was calling on Prime Minister Netanyahu to slow down the current "judicial reform" and meet with opposition members to try and negotiate an agreement.  Netanyahu summoned Gallant to a meeting and apparently cajoled him into cancelling his  press conference.  Shortly afterwards, leaks appeared indicating that Gallant had told Netanyahu  he would wait a few days to see how Netanyahu was dealing with things.

However, later that evening, Netanyahu held a press conference and announced that it would be full speed ahead and he would not consider slowing down at all.

As a result, Saturday night saw the biggest demonstrations to date across the country.  Today, Gallant held  a press conference and announced that he could not support Netanyahu's current legislative program and - that Netanyahu was endangering the country.

This evening, Netanyahu fired Gallant from the Minister of Defence position.  As a result, tens of thousands Israelis took to the streets, blocking highways, roads and protesting in a wide range of places.  Since the demonstrations started earlier this evening, police have estimated that numbers have exceeded 700,000 Israelis currently in the streets demonstrating across the country.

It has become especially clear over recent days, that Netanyahu will not stop at anything until his judicial coup is completed and he has his "get out of jail free card."  Even though he was warned by a close ally that his policies were endangering national security, Netanyahu simply chose to disregard the warnings and double down on his proposals.

There have been some articles in different newspapers (including one in the National Post yesterday) arguing that this legislative agenda being proposed by Netanyahu and his allies is really no great concern to Israel as a democratic state.  But try reconciling that thesis with one of today's announcements - Yariv Levin - the "architect" of the proposed emasculation of the Supreme Court wants to use his new legislation to fire the head of the Israeli Supreme Court - and appoint a hand picked buddy, a "professor" from a second tier Israeli law school - to take over as the President (the "Chief Justice") and advance Levin's extremist policies.  Levin also wants to appoint other judges to the Supreme Court immediately to tilt the balance of the court.

Levin and his allies have also floated the idea of extending the  period of time before the next election  Further, Levin has stated that this is only his "first stage."

Hundreds of thousands of Israelis have been demonstrating to indicate that they will not give up their democratic rights.  But it  is not only demonstrators.  Soldiers are starting to refuse to show up for duty.  Police offers are supporting the demonstrators.  There are major fissures going on  - and Netanyahu is allowing the extremists to continue to drive the bus.

The government is planning to try and ram through the Knesset several pieces of legislation this week - including a law to reinstate convicted criminal Aryeh Deri to a ministerial position and another law to allow the Knesset to override any decision of the Supreme Court.  But it is now becoming unclear that the Likud party will be able to get all of its members to support these extreme legislative initiatives.

If the legislation does pass, the  civil unrest will become increasingly widespread across the country.  The army will become increasingly fractured.  The Supreme Court will face dramatic tests to the limits of its authority - as these pieces of legislation are challenged in that Court.  And there will be strikes and demonstrations  across the country.

If the legislation is put to a  vote and does not pass - this government will almost certainly collapse.

So overall, the coming week - and indeed the coming months are likely to be extremely tense, dramatic and unpredictable.  One can only hope that saner heads will prevail and responsible Knesset members will find a way  to get things under control.  Unfortunately, Netanyahu is showing no signs that he will be one of those "adults  in the room."  In fact, it has become completely clear that his own flagrant conflict of interest has made him entirely unfit to serve as the Prime Minister until his personal criminal issues are resolved.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Putin to Speak in Israeli Knesset

Russian Federation President Vladimir Putin does not like to shy away from danger.  In one photo opportunity (staged, of course), he is seen petting a leopard.  He also been seen hunting, horseback riding, spinning out in a dangerous race car - and taming nature in many other ways.  But where is the real danger? What is out there that might be so risky and dangerous, that it would even frighten President Obama?  Well, apparently, President Putin has agreed to address the Israeli Knesset.

Few other world leaders have tried it.  Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper performed the perilous feat earlier this year.  He was heckled relentlessly by Arab-Israeli MKs who stormed out of the Knesset when Prime Minister Harper called for the recognition of Israel as a Jewish State.  But Prime Minister Harper escaped unscathed, physically and politically.

I'm not good enough with photoshop to put together a picture of President Putin snuggling up to Israeli Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon but that might be even more frightening than holding a leopard.  Certainly U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry seems to think so.

President Putin has many things to discuss in the Israeli Knesset.  He would like to warn Israel against overreacting in the face of terrorist attacks and threats.  Putin's calm and peaceful approach to the threat of terrorism, as exemplified by his dealings with the Chechnyans is something he will advocate as a model for Israel to consider the next time that it is faced with challenges in Gaza, Lebanon or Ramallah.

President Putin would also like to lecture Israel about overreacting to Maritime terrorism.  Again, he will point to his country's efficient and friendly dealings with Somali pirates as the model that Israel should adopt.  If you simply blow the entire boat out of the water, so that there are no traces of the boat or its crew, there is no need for a U.N. investigation and certainly no need for reparation payments to be paid to the country that sent the boat in the first place. 

While in Israel, President Putin is also expected to make a major policy change.  Apparently after petting the leopard, he made himself a beautiful pair of leopardskin trousers.  He will be wearing them while marching in the annual Tel-Aviv Pride Parade and will announce a change of Russian policy.  Gay people in Russia will now be treated equally.  President Putin is also expected to announce that he is coming out of the closet (he was feeling very claustrophobic) and will be happy to have more space and breathing room.  There is apparently lots of space in the Ukraine...

Lastly, President Putin is expected to discuss Russia's vigorous initiatives against political corruption.  He will be conducting a series of meetings in Israel with former politicians, rabbis, mayors and others to discuss the successful initiatives that Israel has implemented.  He is expected to meet with Aryeh Deri, Ehud Olmert, former Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger and others as part of a fact finding mission.  Following these meetings, he will apparently be blessed, jointly, by Rabbi Metzger and Aryeh Deri in exchange for an unspecified sum of rubles.

Israelis across the country are looking forward to meeting this visionary and hearing all about good governance, human rights, equality, the fight against corruption and sensible foreign policy initiatives.  The visit will take place on an undisclosed date in the near future.