JERUSALEM, Israel—What in the world is going on here? Political intrigue. A splintered conservative coalition. A fired minister. Soldiers disobeying orders to report for duty. “Day of Paralysis” protests with demonstrators shutting down traffic and a threatened general strike on the horizon. All of which is leading to a postponement, for now, of the government’s judicial reform proposal.
For the MAGA Right, it’s not hard at all to figure out what’s really happening. There’s no need at all to navigate the complex web of proposals, counter-proposals, cross-proposals, and compromise proposals on the issue.
We’ve seen it all before.
Start by substituting Israel’s with more familiar examples from our recent past. For example, substitute:
- America’s practically self-parodying radical progressives and shrieking, harassing, and often-violent “Resistance” for Israel’s self-hating leftist parties and the protesters plaguing the land and storming police barricades outside the prime minister’s residence.
- Card-carrying RINO members of the Washington uniparty for the Likud Members of the Knesset (MKs) deserting their party on its central issue, and White House staffers undermining the previous president for the Jewish State’s just- (and justly-) dismissed defense minister who led that charge.
- Uncle Sam’s increasingly woke and limp military brass for the Israeli Defense Force members defying orders to report for duty—creating a “national security threat” cited by the defense minister in his waffle on reform.
- An unaccountable U.S. Supreme Court taking on the role of super-legislature for Israel’s High Court of Justice—except that their judiciary has a lead role in appointing its own members, and its standard for overruling legislative enactments is even looser and more subjective, even as its role is more intrusive.
- A rogue attorney general and Justice Department pursuing a two-tier justice system, and persecuting President Trump in particular on manufactured charges, for an Israeli counterpart similarly conjuring up crimes against that nation’s prime minister—except that this attorney is not even appointed by the government. Not to mention that rulings on the legitimacy of legislation by the government’s own “legal advisors” have the force of law.
- And last but definitely not least, the beleaguered Donald Trump for the equally harassed, hounded, harried, hassled and hectored Benjamin Netanyahu—except that this assault has been prosecuted against the latter for the better part of two decades in and out of leadership.
But wait . . . there’s more! More basic tea leaf reading that makes analysis a snap for MAGA adherents. Take a gander at the language used by, and the emphases of, the respective sides.
On the Left, there’s a hyperfocus on the composition of the judicial selection committee. In other words, what players hold the power and where. The words “danger” and “threat” are sprinkled liberally throughout. They are just part of the rhetoric now, as when a brilliant academic who is participating in protests whispered to me over lunch, Netanyahu is “dangerous.”
To what? To “democracy,” of course. To hear reform opponents tell it, Israel is tumbling headlong into “dictatorship.” Which means what? Opposition to the Left.
But what about the Likud side? Here the central concern is “public representation.” Or more simply: “the voters”—as in being true to the will of and promises to the people who put you into office in the first place.
This is a concept MAGA conservatives know to be equally foreign to uniparty Republicans who unblinkingly sign on to $1.7 trillion “omnibus” monstrosities, multibillion-dollar semiconductor and infrastructure boondoggles and the like. Not to mention their waving through of funding for Planned Parenthood and woke agendas.
Deference to the will of the people is, apparently, equally inconsequential to the Likud deserters on judicial reform led by now ex-Defense Minister Yoav Gallant. Party members have their own epithet for such betrayals: “Bennettism,” after Naftali Bennett, a previous turncoat who formed his own party and abandoned his pledge never to form a government with leftists and, as it turned out, an anti-Zionist Arab party.
In reality, no one questions—and 78 percent of the Israeli public favors—some level of reform to address the Israeli High Court’s arrogation of power to itself through its appointment power. Its “reasonableness” standard is even vaguer and more subjective than the substantive due process so abused in the United States.
But this suits the Left just fine. Radical progressives there, as here, love having the judiciary do their dirty work for them, free of the mess and bother of compiling majorities or enacting legislation.
So how will the current impasse end when the reform bill is taken up again?
The truth is it will never end. No matter the outcome, the essential conflict will rear its hydra-head again and again in an endless array of forms and forums in both nations. Conservatives will win small and/or temporary victories before the Left’s full-court pressure wears them down or causes some splinter group to compromise in an endless longing for acceptance.
The radical progressive agenda will be driven relentlessly, inexorably, endlessly forward—abetted in both nations by the legacy media, corporate elites, and radicalized military leaders.
Meanwhile, these uniparties, permanent governments, and other elements of the elite ruling class will maneuver for, and even outright buy, the best seats at everyone’s table.
And the voters? Who?