It’s hard to believe that Netanyahu and the more moderate members of his Likud party will want to continue pushing for the “reform.”
P. David Hornik
Editor’s note: This essay has been updated in light of Tuesday morning’s effective attack on Islamic Jihad.
Amid a tumultuous 2023, at present the domestic front in Israel is somewhat calmer. Some would say that, even as a relative calm, it’s deceptive and nothing has really changed.
The tumult started back on January 4 when Justice Minister Yariv Levin unveiled a legislative initiative to “reform” Israel’s Supreme Court that actually would turn it into a pointless, powerless shell of itself. Since then TV screens around the world have been showing big protest demonstrations in Tel Aviv and many other locales—as well as a pro-“reform” demonstration on April 28.
Although demonstrations continue, presently there’s a sense that the confrontation between the two camps has cooled, a sense of a partial ceasefire. And for that mood there are two main reasons.
One is the talks on a possible compromise “reform”—that is, one worthy of the name—that are ongoing since late March. On one side are representatives of Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud—largest party in the governing coalition; on the other are representatives of the two main opposition parties, National Union and Yesh Atid.
And the second reason for the relative calm in the judicial-overhaul arena is that the governing coalition has its own urgent issues. For one thing, it has to pass a state budget by May 29—or, by law, it dissolves and new elections are held. For another, the coalition is undergoing its own internal strife, with far-right national security minister Itamar Ben-Gvir threatening to bolt with his party if he keeps not getting his way.