On video: hundreds of thousands demonstrated across the country (photo: Reuven Castro, Avi Rokah, Uri Sela)
The reform led by the government has extensive economic consequences, according to almost all professional sources, but it seems that the warnings of the economists and the senior officials of the economy are not being absorbed by the ears of its leaders, and great excitement on their part is not evident.
While the political system enters a critical week with the dismissal of the Minister of Defense and what appears to be a general strike in the economy, given the advancement of the legislative stages, the civil protest is expanding and flowing into many populations and communities within Israeli society.
The fear of turning the country into a Russian-style democracy raises concerns among many, especially among those who came from the countries of the Soviet Union in the past, and more recently from Russia and Ukraine.
"The Israeli justice system, despite a number of shortcomings, is considered one of the strongest in the world, but the reform as it is currently proposed contains similarities to that of the justice system in Russia," says A. (pseudonym), a journalist who worked for one of the media systems in Russia and fled to Israel at the outbreak of the war in Ukraine : "The judicial system in Russia has always been relatively weak.
Back in the 1990s, the courts were influenced by everything nearby, the executive branch appointed judges, the legislative branch allocated budgets, and the courts actually existed from corruption and bribery.
It was a time when big businessmen, like oligarchs, had a great influence on both the government and the courts."
The protests in Israel: more and more signs in Russian (Photo: Michael Vakbri)
She describes the change that worsened during Putin's second term: "During this period, he began to focus closely on the judicial system, when he called the process "building vertical government". He partially united all the courts, changed the method of appointing judges
and deprived them of certain powers. The judicial system now had one owner and he was Putin, all the most important decisions were dictated to the judges from above.
Just before the start of the war, Putin gave his "pocket" Federation Council the power to fire judges from the Supreme and Constitutional Courts, passed changes to a huge number of articles of the constitution through the parliament, every This was done for one clear reason - to carry out his orders. Israel does not have a constitution, but the intentions are similar, the ruling coalition's desire to subordinate the Supreme Court to itself."
How did the weakness of the legal system and the rule of law hurt the Russian economy?
"Russia has never been a country favored by foreign investors for this very reason," explains A. really want to come to Russia.
International companies (mainly oil) entered this country cautiously and reluctantly, and often became victims of local raiders (mergers and acquisitions specialists) - and after fruitless attempts to protect their money in courts, they left the country. About a year ago, the Western investors The latter left Russia, the ruble collapsed, and the economy plummeted. Although this is not directly related to the courts per se, but to the war, it is important to remember that the 'judicial reform' in Russia was nothing more than a preparation for events that actually buried the country's economy and its future."
On the basis of her experience and familiarity with the Russian legal system, A. is currently assisting in Israel the Russian-Israeli protest group "HaKol Shlenno", which takes an active part in the popular civil protest: "We are a group of expatriates from the Commonwealth of Nations that includes expatriates from Russia, Ukraine and other countries, immigrants who arrived in the 1990s And also in the 2000s, but also those who came to Israel following the recent war between Russia and Ukraine."
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Zvi Steingart (Photo: Zvi Steingart)
45-year-old Zvi Steingart, a programmer and entrepreneur from Tel Aviv
, immigrated to Israel in 1988. He is considered one of the leaders of the group: "I never had political ambitions and now I am involved in activism not because I developed them, but because I really cannot remain indifferent to what is happening here During the time that I have lived in Israel this has not been the case, I recognize a violation of everything I hold dear in this country: the spirit of democracy, a free and prosperous economy, a high international status, security - everything is in great danger today. We recognize processes that are very, very similar to the processes we saw in
Russia For the past 20 years, and we have seen what happened to Russia without an independent judicial system, so we are very concerned and do not want to see Israel go in that direction."
The "Our Voice" movement was organized recently with the increase in protests: "Our goal is mainly educational," he says, "Our team is small, but new people join us every day. Our goal is to provide information in Russian about the meaning and content of the reform, to explain Why are people protesting, what possible consequences could arise."
As we know, the Russian-speaking aliyah is the largest aliyah in Israel.
It is diverse and is divided, among other things, into a generational and geographic division: "This aliyah is torn apart by internal contradictions. Now we see a huge influx of the new aliyah, the so-called "Putin" aliyah. These are people who have just arrived in Israel and are deeply immersed in everyday issues. They need to settle down, learn the language. But it is precisely from these people that we see the strongest and most vivid reaction," he says and adds: "These are people who saw with their own eyes how democracy was destroyed, how the legal system was "embedded" through force. They saw how laws are changed, how a free press is uprooted, How elections are rigged and how the change of government was actually cancelled. These people, in my opinion, are ready to go out on the streets and fight so that this history does not repeat itself in Israel. They see the danger just like I do and really do not want to lose another homeland.
New immigrants from Ukraine and Russia are less likely to understand what the commotion is about, but the participation in the protest is increasing (Photo: Michael Vakbri)
According to Steingart, the Russian population, like everyone else, is vulnerable and exposed to a lot of "fake news" circulating on the Internet, misinformation about the nature of the reform and the consequences of the reform and what the results of the reform were: "The young people who grew up here in Israel as we call them 'generation one and a half,' In fact, they are Israelis for everything and they consume media in Hebrew and therefore their opinions are divided like the opinions among the young Israeli public.
Those who live in the periphery are more inclined towards supporting the reform, compared to those who live in the big cities and those who are part of the high-tech industry, where there are more voices against the reform. It should be taken into account That a large part of the Russian public also internally feels anger towards Israel identifies with the feeling of deprivation of the second Israel."
Is there a difference between the country the immigrants came from?
"You can say that people who came from Ukraine, for example, have a greater awareness and a greater fear of totalitarian rule. Even those who came today are very worried, but they still don't feel part of what is happening here, but that's why they don't go out to the demonstrations that much. Those who came to Israel in the years 90 Most of them are very patriotic and very Zionist and they think that what is happening here is really small compared to what is happening in Russia."
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