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Israel: "Benyamin Netanyahu's five mistakes that led him to suspend justice reform"


FIGAROVOX/TRIBUNE - Intoxicated by his electoral victory last November, the Israeli Prime Minister has underestimated the five main threats to the unity and solidity of his country, analyzes social science researcher in Jerusalem Jacques Bendelac.

Jacques Bendelac, economist and social science researcher in Jerusalem is the author of The Netanyahu Years, published by

L'Harmattan (


In announcing a pause in justice reform, Binyamin Netanyahu tacitly acknowledged a series of mistakes made since taking office last January.

With his coalition supported by 64 deputies out of the 120 in the Knesset, the Israeli Prime Minister believed he could challenge the foundations of democracy with personal and authoritarian laws.

This was without counting on a popular protest of a rare magnitude in Israel;

when Netanyahu took the measure of opposition to proposed legislation, it was too late to back down;

he therefore announced a pause in the legislative process until the summer session of parliament which will begin on April 30 and end on July 30;

pause which will be used to start negotiations with opponents of judicial reform.

Read also“Behind the demonstrations in Israel, a global crisis of Western representative democracy”

After more than fifteen years at the head of the country, Benyamin Netanyahu underestimated the fallout from the reform that his coalition wanted to submit to the vote of the deputies.

Intoxicated by his electoral victory last November, he refused to believe the warnings issued by the country's intellectual, economic and political elites, warning the government of the disastrous consequences for the country of a weakening of its democracy.

By underestimating the five main threats hanging over the unity and solidity of the country, he has accumulated errors that will ultimately lead him to suspend the reform of justice.

Economic regression

Netanyahu has not taken the measure of the economic fallout from the judicial reform, ignoring the risks raised by a whole series of Israeli and foreign personalities, Nobel laureates, professors, investors, etc.

Financial rating agencies (such as Fitch and Moody's) have clearly warned that a weakening of democratic institutions will translate into a risk for the country's economic prospects.

The protest movement reached the ranks of the army when reservists made it known that they would refuse to serve a country that was no longer democratic.

Jacques Bendelac

Without waiting for the implementation of the reform, investors abandoned the shekel, which fell to its lowest level against the main foreign currencies for three years.

The creeping devaluation resulted in a resurgence of inflation the likes of which the country had not seen for twenty years.

A note from the Ministry of Finance has just warned against an annual loss of 0.8% of GDP per capita if the judicial reform is adopted, in particular because of its negative impact on high technology.

Security threats

Divisions within the Israeli population over judicial reform have had repercussions on the Tsahal, which is nevertheless considered a melting pot of Israeli society.

The protest movement reached the ranks of the army when reservists made it known that they would refuse to serve a country that was no longer democratic.

The insurgency movement has spread to all army corps and all ranks, going so far as to call into question the proper functioning of the Tsahal.

Aware of the danger hanging over military troops, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant finally sounded the alarm, asking for the suspension of a legislative process which, according to him, represents "a clear, immediate and concrete danger

for national security”


He took it badly: the Prime Minister announced his dismissal, a decision that accelerated the confusion, including within the coalition parties.

International reactions

The justice reform has worried foreign chancelleries who have made their concerns loud and clear about a weakening of Israeli democracy.

In a few weeks, Benyamin Netanyahu has toured European capitals (Paris, Berlin, Rome, London) to allay fears and to divert the international debate towards the threat of the Iranian nuclear program.

The justice reform has allowed an unprecedented social advance in Israel: employers and trade unions have jointly launched a general strike in protest against the reform.

Jacques Bendelac

Still, three months after taking office, Binyamin Netanyahu has still not been invited to the White House;

the American administration thus expressed its concern through judicial reform and then through the dismissal of the Minister of Defense.

Management-union agreement

The justice reform has allowed an unprecedented social advance in Israel: the employers and the unions have jointly launched a general strike to protest against the reform, in particular against its rapid adoption and without substantive debate.

Many sectors of economic activity suspended their activities for 24 hours, such as banks, industries, services, health, commerce, town halls, etc.


this threat of social disorder eventually convinced Binyamin Netanyahu to suspend the reform, leading to the end of the general strike.

Cracks in the coalition

The criticisms issued recently by members of the Likud will have been the straw that broke the camel's back.

Several ministers and activists from Netanyahu's party did not accept the dismissal of the defense minister and called for a pause in judicial reform.

However, the risk of the government coalition breaking up is for Benyamin Netanyahu the red line that should not be crossed.

Under a charge of corruption and illegal capture of interests, Binyamin Netanyahu is determined to stay in power at all costs;

even if it means ignoring, or underestimating, the harmful effects on the country of a reform intended in particular to improve its personal situation.

Thus, since his return to the head of government three months ago, Netanyahu has devoted all his energy and used all his political weight to pass laws that would allow him to escape his trial or mitigate a possible conviction.

Source: lefigaro

All news articles on 2023-04-04

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