Thursday, August 3, 2023

Netanyahu Calls the Vote

Netanyahu at a plenum session in the Knesset in JerusalemNetanyahu at a plenum session in the Knesset in Jerusalem
Photo: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90

After more than four months, Israel is no closer to resolving the bitter debate over its future as a secular, democratic state than it was on March 26 when I was ending a visit and demonstrators with unions closed the Ben Gurion Airport.

On that day, Prime Minister Netanyahu decided to pause the demand for judicial reform and see if a compromise was possible. Most observers were skeptical. The massive demonstrations continued and his 64 vote Kensset majority made clear they weren’t giving in on the goal of reducing the independent supreme court’s power. Netanyahu called for the vote on July 24. He described it a “minor correction” to our “activist court” and predicted the conflict would blow over.

If the government falls and a new election is called, there will finally be an issue for the country to decide besides Benjamin Netanyahu’s career and credibility.

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