A high-tech strike and the resignation of an ambassador and a member of the Central Bank in protest
With the Israeli government’s insistence on moving forward with its project aimed at reducing the powers of the Supreme Court and ignoring the widespread public rejection of it, the judiciary leaked to the media news about the intention of the government’s judicial advisor, Ghali Bharav Mayara, to start deliberations with officials in the Ministry of Justice and the Public Prosecution, about what It was called “a contradiction of interests between the policy pursued by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the rulings of the judiciary, and the possibility of forcing him to step down from office by announcing his inability to carry out his duties.”
Judicial sources said that these deliberations will begin next week, and perhaps this week. According to Haaretz newspaper (Monday), “the judicial advisor is still far from announcing that Netanyahu is unable to carry out the duties of his position,” but she stressed that these deliberations are intended for consultation only at this stage, because there is a solid basis for believing that he entered into a process severe conflict of interest.
She emphasized that this leak came to directly threaten Netanyahu and deter him from continuing his project to strike the judiciary. She made it clear that she relies in her position on the fact that Netanyahu himself pledged before the court that is considering the corruption indictments against him, to stay away from interference in judicial affairs throughout the trial period, while today he is violating this covenant and leading a government that sets its sights on a plan to bring about a fundamental change in the work of Courts and their powers.
The Purity of Ruling Organization had approached the court three years ago, requesting Netanyahu’s dismissal from the position of prime minister, or at least freezing his position as prime minister and appointing an acting prime minister in his place during his trial, given that his stay in office could be used to restrict the powers of the court. However, after Netanyahu pledged not to interfere in judicial cases and not take actions affecting the apparatus, the court agreed to him remaining prime minister. Today, he is not only intervening, but is leading a project to strike at the judiciary and fundamentally reduce the powers of the court, amid widespread public opposition represented by huge demonstrations and polls indicating that 63% of the public opposes this project, including many right-wing party voters.
Many legal experts assert that the greater the contradiction of interests in which Netanyahu is present due to his trial on criminal charges, the greater the possibility that the judicial advisor will instruct him to step down due to his inability to carry out his duties, relying on this on the official written pledge that he signed and prohibiting him from being preoccupied with appointments or changes in the judiciary. It would influence his trial and his private affairs.
However, Netanyahu continues his project despite this threat, and threatens to strip the powers of the chancellor. And he was quoted as saying, “The judicial advisor to the government holds a position without being elected by the public, and there is no possibility or logic in granting her highly influential powers to dismiss a prime minister during his term.”--
Meanwhile, the protest campaign against the government’s judicial plan continues. Civil society organizations have decided to continue the weekly demonstrations next Saturday. After one of the deans of the Bank of Israel with international standing came out with a warning about the effects of the government plan on the economy, Moshe Hazan, professor of economics at Tel Aviv University, resigned from his position as a member of the Monetary Committee of the Bank of Israel. “I feel that I cannot sit down and discuss raising interest rates by 0.25 percent or 0.5 percent while Israeli democracy is in danger,” said Hazan, one of six members of the committee who decide monthly on the level of bank interest. He asserted that the government’s plans harm the independence of the judiciary and the public service, and that this would severely damage democracy and the economy in Israel.-
High-tech companies and emerging companies in the Israeli “high-tech” sector also announced their joining the protest movement, and allowed their employees to participate in a partial strike and a demonstration organized (Tuesday) to express their opposition to the plan to weaken the judiciary. And she said, in a joint letter signed by the managements of 130 companies and commercial interests to their employees, that the government plan “threatens to withhold foreign investments in Israel.” It is known that in these circumstances, in which this sector is witnessing a significant decline in profits and dozens of companies stop working, stopping investments is a devastating blow to this branch and to the entire Israeli economy.
The protests also began to extend to the diplomatic community, as the Israeli ambassador to Canada, Ronen Hoffman, announced (Monday) his resignation from his post, in protest against the government plan, and he is the second ambassador to resign on the same background, after the resignation of the Israeli ambassador to France, Yael German, at the end of Last month, when the judicial plan was announced. Ambassador Hoffman, who was appointed by Foreign Minister and former Prime Minister Yair Lapid to this position, wrote in a tweet on Twitter: “With the transition to a new government and a different policy, my personal and professional integrity compels me to request a shortening of her term, step down from my post, and return to Israel this summer.”
A well-known diplomat, Alon Finkas, came out with warnings about the government plan. Pinkas, who previously served as consul general in the United States, said that “Israel’s retreat from shared values with the United States brings them close to a crossroads in relations.” He said, “The very polite behavior that President Joe Biden’s administration follows with the Netanyahu government, with the aim of helping it to continue the strategic relations between the two countries, should not deceive anyone. This government and its projects are very worrying to the Americans.”
On the other hand, a senior political source in Tel Aviv revealed that the Israeli National Security Adviser, Jake Sullivan, who visited Israel last week, explicitly warned Netanyahu of the repercussions of his government’s plan to weaken the judiciary on relations between Washington and Tel Aviv. According to a report broadcast on “Channel 12” of Israeli television, Netanyahu gave assurances to the American official, during a bilateral meeting that brought them together last Thursday, and uttered words and messages that “completely contradict what he says to his partners in the government coalition.”
Sullivan told Netanyahu, according to the report, that “the liberal democratic public, and we as an administration, do not like the direction it is taking with regard to judicial reform,” adding that “if there is a violation of democratic values, it will be difficult for us to provide full and unconditional support for Israel.”