I postpone Uri Geller yet again because Israel’s crisis is so important.

Tom Friedman:

Netanyahu Is Shattering Israeli Society

. . . It is a measure of how serious the situation has become that several former chiefs of the Mossad have denounced Netanyahu’s judicial putsch, most recently Danny Yatom. He told Israel Channel 13 News on Saturday night, according to Haaretz, that if Netanyahu continues with his plans to effectively eliminate the independence of Israel’s high court, fighter pilots and special forces operatives will be able to legitimately disobey the orders that come from the government.

They “signed an agreement with a democratic country,” said Yatom. “But the moment that, God forbid, the country becomes a dictatorship” and they receive “an order from an illegitimate government, then I believe it would be legitimate to disobey it.”

This is not idle speculation. In the past few days, some 250 officers from the Military Intelligence’s Special Operations Division have signed a public letter stating that “they would stop showing up for duty” should the government proceed with its autocratic judicial overhaul . . .

. . . On Saturday night, a massive crowd gathered in central Tel Aviv to hear, among others, Ehud Barak, the former prime minister and army chief of staff. Barak could not have been more clear about what an existential moment this is for Israel.

In the next few weeks, if Netanyahu’s coalition passes these “new laws of dictatorship,” Barak said, they will be “canceled by the Supreme Court” as illegal. When that happens and the government then takes steps to annul some Supreme Court rulings, the four key “gatekeepers” of Israeli security — the chief of staff of the armed forces and the heads of the Mossad, the Shin Bet and the police — will have to decide from whom to take orders. “This will create an extremely severe constitutional crisis,” said Barak.

“If the threshold is crossed,” he added, “and the laws of the dictatorship are set in motion, the responsibility will pass to us, the citizens of the country. We will have to follow the tradition set by Gandhi, 80 years ago in India, and of Martin Luther King, 60 years ago in the U.S., to follow the path of nonviolent civil disobedience. … This is the right, even the duty, of citizens when their government acts in ways which break the rules of the game and stand contrary to the country’s own fundamental norms and value system.”

. . .

On Monday, Assaf Rappaport, the chief executive and a co-founder of Wiz, a cloud security start-up, announced that Wiz had just raised $300 million . . . ” Unfortunately,” he said, “in light of the judicial coup, the money we raised will not enter Israel. . . . Wiz has been successful thanks to the exceptional ecosystem that exists in Israel, but we are now facing an existential threat.”

My Israeli host, reacting to Wednesday’s post, sees a potential silver lining:

Shenkin is wrong on three issues (in reverse order of importance):

> His view that that all Ashkenazi/Sephardic achievement is found on the Ashkenazi side has been factually wrong for decades and is dangerously flirting with racism.

> He does not understand the amazing upswell of organized and spontaneous resistance to Bibi.  Bibi himself miscalculated it and now his coalition is very shaky.  I am still concerned, but can see how this situation can lead to a resurgence of leftist liberalism — this time stronger, more organized, and with widespread grassroots support within the wakened population (except among the Haredi and settler communities). All that, plus knocking Bibi out of the game. So there’s a silver lining here.  Not certain by any means, but visible and very shiny.

> Shenkin’s most egregious and dangerous mistake is in his bottom line — which can be summed up as “let events unfold and then reassess.”  That is EXACTLY THE OPPOSITE of what the US should do. And that is the root of a lot of Mideast mistakes the US made in the past (e.g., Syria).  The US can and should intervene in favor of the vast majority of Israelis who oppose Bibi’s dictatorial moves. Israeli society as a whole is standing up against Bibi and all it would take is a little nudge from the US to make his coalition tumble. Sure, in American cultural terms it would be crass and distasteful to intervene; but in Israeli and Mideast terms it will not only be effective but also earn the local ‘tribes’’ respect.

By the way?  I’ll keep plugging Noa Tishby’s Israel: A Simple Guide to the Most Misunderstood Country on Earth until you read or listen to it.  I’m that annoying.

Have a great weekend!



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